It’s called the Investing in Opportunity Act, a bit of legislation that seeks to utilize an increasingly prosperous economy to incentivize private industry to seek out and help to rebuild long-struggling communities across the nation. Senator Tim Scott, a black member of the U.S. Senate, is giving the effort a very big thumbs up:
EXCERPT via USA TODAY:
Poverty has long been one of the most challenging social crises of our time. Despite good-intentioned efforts to generate positive change, currently 52 million Americans continue to face the dire circumstances of a lack of jobs, education, and the confidence that things will get better.
I will be at the White House on Wednesday with President Trump, administration officials and community leaders to discuss the Investing In Opportunity Act. The IIOA, which was included in last year’s tax reform package, seeks to direct trillions in capital gains to distressed communities in every state.
…So the question then is — how do we spread opportunity to every corner of every community across our nation? The solution isn’t nested in another tax-payer funded government program or initiative that fails to get to the root of the problem, but rather public-private partnerships that encourage long-term investment and continued success.
A few years ago in Spartanburg, S.C., I was able to personally see the results of a public-private partnership called The Northside Initiative, a multi-million dollar partnership that leveraged resources to inspire business development, modernized housing, and job creation. The outcome has been outstanding: crimes dropped by 81% in five years, and 150 dilapidated properties have been turned into a food hub, Mixed Housing Model Block, and other new housing opportunities.
To make sure the zip codes most in need are the ones that reap the benefits of this new provision, all 50 governors will designate “Opportunity Zones,” meaning governors and local leaders will have the opportunity to identify key qualifying locations that stand to gain the most from this initiative. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting last month local leaders expressed their excitement for this plan, state development offices across the nation are working hard to nominate Opportunity Zones within their area of jurisdiction, and scores of community development groups have already expressed eagerness to find out how they can get involved.
To create a brighter tomorrow for communities that have been left behind, we need to capitalize on the private-sector resources that can help boost these areas in ways we haven’t seen before. This is what IIOA will accomplish. I am excited about the far-reaching impact this program will have for folks looking for a hand up, and a brighter future.