Do you remember the Saturday morning cartoon Schoolhouse Rock: America – I’m Just a Bill:
“I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill, and I’m sitting here on Capitol Hill,
well, it’s a long, long journey to the capital city,
it’s a long, long wait while I’m sitting in committee,
but I know I’ll be a law one day,
at least I hope and pray that I will,
but today I am only a bill.”
I am reminded of it, and the remarkable accomplishment that the people at the Economic Innovation Group achieved by conceiving and obtaining passage of the Investing in Opportunity Act in a very short period of time.
Jimmy Atkinson, who hosts the OpportunityDB Podcast, recently interviewed John Lettieri, of the Economic Innovation Group, who shared insight into the history of the Economic Innovation Group and its work in support of the Opportunity Zones legislation.
In the interview, John spoke of some of the misconceptions of the legislation, and highlighted that the program is about much more than real estate:
“Another pretty persistent misconception is that this is primarily a real estate incentive, full stop. And I think that’s driven by the fact that, to date, without regulatory clarity, you certainly see more real estate investment than any other category because that’s what’s more straightforward. There are fewer unknowns and variables to worry about in real estate.
That said, the centerpiece of this was always get capital into local operating businesses, new businesses, and scaling businesses, and help drive job growth and wealth creation. So I think, as people start to see the number of different things you can do using Opportunity Zones’ financing, manufacturing, tech startups, clean tech, and clean energy indoor agriculture, and then, of course, housing, industrial, all kinds of other use cases that are more oriented around the built environment, I think it’s gonna become clear pretty quickly now over time that this is a much broader and more diverse policy tool than anything that people initially may have thought.”
“That said, the centerpiece of this was always get capital into local operating businesses, new businesses, and scaling businesses, and help drive job growth and wealth creation. ”
My number one recommendation to existing business owners and budding entrepreneurs for 2019 is to consider how they, and their businesses, might benefit from the Investing in Opportunity Act incentives. Locating or relocation a growing business in an opportunity zone, with the proper structuring, can pay significant dividends later, including the possible sale of the business free of capital gains tax.
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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