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Opportunity Zones Developing Quickly, Say Trump Advisers

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Scott Turner, executive director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, by the White House used with permission

May 18, 2020 — Opportunity Zones are performing well, said several Presidential Cabinet members in a Monday meeting.

Opportunity Zones, low-income areas where private corporations can receive tax benefits to stimulate economic development, were created in 2018 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. There are currently Opportunity Zones in all 50 states.

Members of the cabinet spoke to President Donald Trump about the zones and said that their development was impressive, in spite of the economic turmoil caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, said that the efforts would continue amidst the current recovering economy.

“Yes, COVID is here, but our mission and the spirit is still the same, and now we’re just going to ramp it up,” he said.

The positive report on Opportunity Zones came the same day as Wall Street had its best day in six weeks, prompted in part by promising initial results in a vaccine trial.

Still, full economic recovery is expected to take some time, with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell saying in a CBS interview Sunday that “we won’t get back to where we were by the end of the year, it’s not likely to happen.”

Brooke Rollins, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, said that the Opportunity Zone efforts were among other successes of the administration.

“In just a few years,” she said, “we had the lowest poverty rate in the history of our country for our African American population, our Hispanic population, our veteran population, our high school graduate population, our people with disabilities.”

Trump said that increased economic development had enabled the U.S. markets to bounce back from the virus’s effect on the economy, and for healthcare to thrive.

“Not only are the markets up tremendously, but we’ve had tremendously good and positive information on therapeutics, on cures, and on vaccines,” he said.

“Home prices in designated Opportunity Zones around the country keep showing strong gains, tracking the housing market boom now in its ninth year. Nearly half did even better in the first quarter of 2020 than the nation as a whole – a notable trend in some of the country’s most distressed neighborhoods,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM Data Solutions.

“As with other recent ATTOM reports, this one needs to be taken in the context of the looming impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, which could cut the legs out from under the housing market,” Teta added.

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