As I prepare for an opportunity zone presentation to the Savannah Hilton Head Commercial Alliance, I have gained a fresh appreciation for the work of South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s instrumental role in securing passage of the Investing in Opportunity Act as a part of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act. He, along with Senator Corey Booker, were original sponsors of the bill.
Despite bipartisan support, however, it was not included in the House version of the 2017 tax cut bill and only gained traction after Senator Scott obtained President’s Trump’s support of the bill.
The story is well conveyed in a December 20, 2017, Post and Courier article.
“Despite bipartisan support, however, it was not included in the House version of the 2017 tax cut bill and only gained traction after Senator Scott obtained President’s Trump’s support of the bill.”
“U.S. Sen. Tim Scott stood on the White House lawn Wednesday afternoon reveling in being a part of history.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the Republican majority on Capitol Hill passed legislation to overhaul America’s tax code. And Scott, the junior Republican senator from South Carolina, was a part of it.
Even President Donald Trump took notice.
In the GOP victory lap press conference at the White House, Trump was saying his name, calling him “incredible,” and motioning Scott toward the podium to say a few words or, as Trump put it, to come up and “get the glamour and the glory.”
“He came in, and he would solve some problems when we weren’t looking too good a couple of times,” Trump said, looking back at Scott. “Thank you, Tim.”
To applause, Scott walked forward and shook Trump’s hand. But when Scott made it to the podium, he looked back at Trump to thank him. Scott referenced the Investing in Opportunity Act, a bill he introduced to help revitalize economically distressed communities.
The bill’s language made it into the final GOP tax bill that will become law with the stroke of Trump’s pen, expected in the next few days.
“Mr. President, during one of those conversations that we had, we talked about ways to improve distressed communities throughout this country,” Scott said. “And you said ‘yes.’ And as part of this tax reform package, the Investing and Opportunity Act has been included, which will bring trillions of dollars into distressed communities because of your willingness to listen.”
The two men shook hands again.”
[I continue to process the fact that Senator Scott’s and President Trump’s conversations were during their meetings after President Trump’s controversial Charlottesville comments. Let’s hope the commitment of capital and new investment in distressed communities across the country, if made with the appropriate social impact in mind, can help to heal some of the divisions across our country.]
Joey Strength is a partner at HunterMaclean, practicing primarily in real estate and development law, estates and trusts, and business transactions. He is a trusted advisor to his clients, ranging from individuals to publicly traded companies, and provides them with quality legal representation and advice across various areas. Joey strives to understand his clients’ personal and business needs to find creative solutions to their legal problems.
Joey is a proponent of the Opportunity Zone legislation that was included in the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act and has represented HunterMaclean in a national working group of attorneys, accountants, developers, and others who have collaborated to provide input in the regulatory process. He is currently working with a number of clients who are considering how they might benefit from the program and enjoys sharing about the program with others.
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