From the office of Rep. Val Demings
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) joined Majority Whip James Clyburn in a letter to House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee Leadership urging them to pass legislation that tightens rules for the Opportunity Zone Program.
Opportunity Zones, established under the 2017 tax law, were intended to drive investment and development in low-income and under-served communities. In 2018, 20 Central Florida census tracts recommended by Rep. Demings were selected for community investments under the program.
Unfortunately, while the program has had many successes, loopholes and lax oversight have allowed some investments to go to tax shelters rather than long-term capital investments in rural and urban communities.
Said Rep. Demings, “The Opportunity Zone Program holds immense promise for communities with unrealized potential like the twenty census tracts located in my Central Florida district. These neighborhoods are filled with talented and entrepreneurial people uniquely positioned to take advantage of this pro-growth program, as it was intended. I urge Congress to pass this much-needed reform legislation without delay.”
The letter urges the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees to pass three bills seeking to reform and rein in the Opportunity Zone Program:
- H.R. 5042, the Opportunity Zone Reform Act introduced by Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC) and Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)
- H.R. 4999, the Opportunity Zone Fairness and Inclusion Act introduced by Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA)
- H.R. 4011, the Opportunity Zone Lead Remediation Impact Act introduced by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) before his passing and now led by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
The Opportunity Zone Program is designed to drive long-term capital investments to rural and urban communities that have fallen behind in economic growth compared to other parts of the region.
In 2018, Rep. Demings requested that then-Governor Rick Scott designate 26 census tracts within the 10th Congressional District. 20 of the Demings-nominated tracts were included.