By Les Shaver
If you're involved with Opportunity Zones, you need to be aware of two bills that have been introduced on Capitol Hill. The bills were proposed after recent news questioned who benefits from the Opportunity Zone program.
The Senate Opportunity Zone Reporting and Reform Act, introduced last week by Ron Wyden (D-OR) would address concerns about Opportunity Zone investments being made in areas that are not in poverty.
Currently, states can designate low-income areas as Opportunity Zones. In addition, an area adjacent to a low-income area can also receive the Opportunity Zone designation.
Wyden's bill would sunset continuous Opportunity Zone designations for areas that are not low income and areas where the median family income is more than 120 percent of U.S. family median income. A contiguous area where median family income is more than 120 percent could remain an Opportunity Zone if 20 percent of the population is at or above the poverty rate above and less than 10 percent of the population is enrolled in an institution of higher education. The bill would give states the chance to designate replacement zones.
Additionally, Wyden's bill would require public information reporting by all Qualified Opportunity Funds and annual reporting by investors in Opportunity Funds; clarify rules governing Opportunity Zone investments in an effort to ensure investments are actually helping the community; and require program review by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Read more.