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Trump Administration Gives 'Opportunity Zones' a Push Forward

A new controversy about the Trump family's potential to profit from Trump administration policies emerged the same week as news that an executive order was forming a White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.
December 12, 2018, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Michael Candelori

"Mr. Trump plans to sign an executive order at the White House that will push federal resources to so-called opportunity zones — a small but lucrative provision tucked into his signature tax cut that in recent months has vaulted to prominence among real estate developers and other investors," reports Jim Tankersley.

"Mr. Trump’s order seeks to encourage development in the zones and reassure investors that they are viable places for investment," adds Tankersley. "It will create a White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, covering 13 federal agencies and led by Ben Carson, the Housing and Urban Development secretary. The council will work to prioritize opportunity zones in a variety of federal efforts, including grant funding, loan guarantees, infrastructure spending and crime prevention."

The executive order moves the Opportunity Zone program further along the process, but also shows how much work remains for implementation. According to Tankersley, the new council will be tasked with deciding where to focus investments, and the Trump Administration must still complete two rounds of regulations to govern the zones and the investment funds. The Treasury Department released an initial guidance on the Opportunity Zones program in October.

Initial criticism of the program—focused on the potential for Opportunity Zones to benefit projects and neighborhoods that are a stretch to portray as distressed—got new ammunition this week, as the Associated Press reported that Jared and Ivanka Trump stand to profit from Opportunity Fund investments.

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Published on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 in The New York Times
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