Opportunity Summer: States Gearing Up for Economic Boosts

John Boehner

If today’s jobs report tells us anything, it’s that the American economy is in great shape. Thanks to tax reform, business owners and workers alike are seeing an economic environment ripe with opportunity—which leads us to our next point.

Recently, we’ve been talking about opportunity zones and how they’re designed for “pockets of the country in desperate need of revitalization.” More and more, states and local communities are starting to realize just how transformative these zones could be. In fact, opportunity zones have been approved in all but four states nationwide—that’s a whole lot of economic potential for communities that need it.

Here are some highlights from areas across the country welcoming new opportunity zones to their neighborhoods:

In North Carolina, 252 of its lowest-income areas have been designated as opportunity zones. This is especially great news for the state’s rural communities.

In Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner announced 327 opportunity zones throughout 85 counties in the state. In his words, “These zones include some of the most underserved areas of the state that have the greatest potential for improvement.”

In Massachusetts, the community of Gloucester is hopeful its two designated zones will attract investors and, in turn, boost its economy.

In Michigan, local leaders are hopeful the new incentives will generate investment, and are working with federal officials to learn and share more information about the program to designated neighborhoods.   

In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently announced 55 opportunity zones across the state had been certified. Justice said this new economic development tool “continues our movement forward and the hope for brighter days ahead.”

In Iowa, officials say they’ve seen a “waiting list” of potential investors, springing optimism for the potential success of the opportunity zones program in the state’s 62 designated communities.

In Oregon, business owners are excited about what the zones mean for their businesses, with one saying “We really have an opportunity to create jobs.”

And that’s only just the start. To learn more about opportunity zones, visit speaker.gov—and be sure to keep an eye out in your own neck of the woods. 

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