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CDFA Opportunity Zones Update Newsletter - January 15, 2019

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CDFA Opportunity Zones Update
January 15, 2019
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Opportunity Zones Update Newsletter


How Chicago and Cook County Can Leverage Opportunity Zones for Community Benefit
Local officials, impact investors, and philanthropy have important roles to play in helping communities access Opportunity Zone financing that benefits current residents. Using Chicago and Cook County as a case study, Urban identifies steps these actors can take to attract helpful investments. 

Opportunity Zones: Can a Tax Break for Rich People Really Help Poor People?
Economist Jared Bernstein argues for giving the Opportunity Zones incentive a chance before condemning the program as tool for gentrification and tax avoidance. In his estimation, most OZ communities have both the need and capacity to absorb new investment without displacing local residents.

Benefits, Challenges Ahead from Opportunity Zones in Baltimore, MD
According to experts in Baltimore, MD, Opportunity Zones offer a chance to lure development to some long-ignored areas of Baltimore and other parts of the state, but the money won't automatically flow.

IRS Cancels OZ Hearing Due to Government Shutdown
An IRS public hearing on proposed regulations for Opportunity Zones, which had been scheduled for Jan. 10, has been indefinitely postponed by the agency because of the ongoing federal government shutdown. The hearing will be rescheduled once the government reopens.

Opportunity Zones: What We Know and What We Don't
This analysis by the Tax Foundation describes Opportunity Zones program incentives, reviews both academic and government evidence on the effects of place-based incentive programs, and discusses possible outcomes for Opportunity Zones residents. 

MI Governor Signs Executive Order to Support Opportunity Zones
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2019-8 to help expand opportunities for businesses in Michigan's Opportunity Zones. Under the executive directive, state agencies will collaborate to reduce barriers for OZ businesses by increasing purchases from and contracts with them.

MD Governor Proposes $56.5M to Support OZs
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has proposed a $56.5 million set-aside for economic development and business creating in Maryland Opportunity Zones. Hogan's plan involves offering businesses additional state tax credits, job training programs, small business loans and affordable housing incentives, in some cases through proposed legislation.

Seymour, IN Using TIF to Finance OZ Marketing Plan
City officials from Seymour, IN have approved the establishment of a tax increment financing district to finance a marketing project for the city's Opportunity Zone. The Zone is a 1,500-acre census tract that encompasses the area where Silgan Plastics is located on the city's far south side all the way north to the CSX rail line near Cummins Seymour Engine Plant.

How State and Local Officials Can Make Their Opportunity Zones More Attractive
Recent studies reveal only a small percentage of the 8,700 designated Opportunity Zones are well positioned to produce the returns needed to justify the investment, even with the tax break. Many Opportunity Zones located in rural and suburban America are ill-equipped to attract investments from Opportunity Funds.

Upcoming Events
Fundamentals of Economic Development Finance WebCourse
Opportunity Zones Headlines

Niagara Falls, NY Offers Investment Incentives in OZs
The Buffalo News | Jan. 15 | Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones Shine Bright Phoenix, AZ — but Need Off-Market Data
AZ Big Media | Jan. 15 | Opportunity Zones

Real Estate Investors See Riches in a Tax Break Meant to Help the Poor
Bloomberg | Jan. 15 | Opportunity Zones

Where OZ's Stand Heading Into 2019
Curbed | Jan. 8 | Opportunity Zones

Assessing Dallas' Opportunity in Opportunity Zones
D Magazine | Jan. 5 | Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones Can Boost Business Where Needed
The Advocate | Dec. 25 | Opportunity Zones | Tax Credits

Opportunity Zones Investors Draw Criticism over Targets
Arkansas Democrat | Dec. 18 | Opportunity Zones

Year in Review: The Opportunity Alpha
Impact Alpha | Dec. 18 | Opportunity Zones

The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) is a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. CDFA is comprised of the nation's leading and most knowledgeable members of the development finance community representing public, private and non-profit entities alike. For more information, visit www.CDFA.net or email info@cdfa.net.

Council of Development Finance Agencies
100 E. Broad Street, Suite 1200
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 705-1300


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