Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. This new federal capital gains tax incentive program is designed to drive long-term investments to low-income communities. The new law provides a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest their capital gains into Opportunity Funds, which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in designated low-income areas.
There are 150 census tracts in Louisiana that are qualified opportunity zones. These low-income tracts were nominated by Gov. John Bel Edwards and certified by the Secretary of the Treasury. Louisiana’s 150 tract recommendations were determined based on a strategic review of feedback from local, state and federal elected officials; economic and community development organizations; private developers; private equity firms; non-profit organizations; churches; and individuals. LED’s review and comprehensive analysis considered the following factors:
- the potential for development based on known certified sites, tracts of land, or buildings within the eligible census tract
- proximity to regional assets (ports, airports, industrial parks, tech parks, colleges and universities, etc.)
- opportunities to leverage other designations such as NMTC or Enterprise Zones
- that coverage included a mix of tracts – some with high potential for economic development and others with high potential for community development (e.g. affordable housing, redevelopment, mixed use real estate, and any other types of quality of place enhancements)
- the end goal to ensure a fair and balanced distribution of zones across each of the eight economic development regions of the state
- the end goal to ensure adequate coverage in both rural and urban areas.