In December of last year, the United States Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which had an immediate positive impact on the economy in our nation and in Arkansas.
But there was more good news for the state. Another tax-relief element of the act is the Opportunity Zones, which grants investors a break on capital gains taxes when they put their money into projects in designated low-income communities.
The goal of the Opportunity Zones is to encourage private investment in distressed communities. President Trump saw this as a way of spreading the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to more Americans.
In Arkansas, there are more than 300 low-income communities with the potential to attract investment and a high likelihood of success.
The tax cut bill allows the governor of each state to nominate up to 25 percent of the low-income communities as Opportunity Zones.
With the assistance of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and local economic leaders, I nominated 85 Opportunity Zones. Once the Treasury Department approves our choices, we can move ahead.
This is an exciting development for Arkansas’s economic future. I am confident that investors will see the benefit in this program, which will breathe new life into communities and ensure that our state remains economically diverse and healthy.
The Opportunity Zone program allows me to increase economic opportunities for all Arkansans in places all over the state, which was one of my goals from my first day in office.
The designated zones range from El Dorado to Jonesboro; from Pine Bluff to Fort Smith. I am excited that the opportunity zones include the historic area of Hot Springs and some critical areas in Little Rock as well.
As investors put money into Opportunity Zones, our economy will continue to grow, we will create new jobs, and the result is that Arkansans can choose to live and work in their own communities even as we attract more investors to the state.