Building Blocks Podcast: Opportunity Zones - Promises and Pitfalls
We’re quickly approaching the second deadline for the Opportunity Zones Initiative, an uncapped tax incentive with the potential to funnel an estimated $6 trillion in unrealized capital gains into qualified low-income census tracts across the United States. Throughout the nomination process, several questions have emerged, specifically around the creation of Opportunity Funds, selecting qualified census tracts, the potential for community displacement, and who exactly stands to benefit from this economic incentive program. On episode 5 of Building Blocks, I’ve invited Enterprise’s Rachel Reilly, Director of Impact Investing, and Flora Arabo, National State and Local Policy Director, to deconstruct Opportunity Zones and explore their potential impact.
The flow of capital into many of these low-income communities could have transformative benefits for expanding businesses, affordable housing, infrastructure, energy, and commercial development in areas that have largely missed out on the gains of the national economic recovery. In response, Enterprise has quickly emerged as a leading voice in the Opportunity Zones field working with a cross-sector coalition to help raise awareness, create evaluation tools, and promote guiding principles for maximizing benefits of the initiative. By engaging with community development organizations and private investors through our state and local policy work, Enterprise is pushing for a selection framework that ensures equitable economic growth throughout implementation and fully maximizes Opportunity Fund investment.