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“Opportunity Zones” The new executive order

After almost two years, President Trump has laid out a policy with an executive order to spend money and investments in the “distressed communities across the country.” Last week (12-12-18), at an executive order signing at the White House, with a majority of African Americans in attendance, President Trump said, “this order would draw investment into neglected and underserved communities in America.” With a sea of Black faces, starting with Billionaire Bob Johnson, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, [President Trump] has assured the mainstream media that this is one of the solutions to fix the numerous economic problems in urban America. Under the leadership and direction of Secretary Ben Carson, 13 federal agencies have already put together a list of 8,761 potential designated action zones. “The White House’s new executive order for agencies to prioritize OZs is a positive first step to transform more communities into walkable, equitable, and thriving places and repair the mistakes of the 20th century that led to sprawl and disinvestment,” said Christopher Cotes, Director of LOCUS, a program of Small Growth America. “Most importantly, this new council must encourage greater transparency to ensure any federal investment in OZs achieves equitable development outcomes that are good for both residents and businesses.” On paper, “Opportunity Zones” appears to be an excellent concept and major corporations have an opportunity to invest in distressed communities and get a break on their taxes. These Opportunity Zones were created a year ago under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but a year later there are still no established rules to implement the program.