The Montana Department of Commerce Tuesday opened the application process for local governments and economic developers to submit their proposals for an Opportunity Zone designation as created by Congress.
The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established a new economic development program called Opportunity Zones designed to encourage long-term private investment in low-income communities. The program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into “Opportunity Funds,” which are specialized vehicles dedicated to investing in low-income areas called “Opportunity Zones.”
“Montana has 106 Opportunity Zone eligible areas, but the state may only identify 25 areas that can use this financing tool,” Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote said. “We are asking cities, towns, counties, tribes, Certified Regional Development Corporations or lead economic development organizations to nominate areas that are most likely to realize development which benefits communities.”
Opportunity Zones will be identified using Low-Income Community Census tracts.
The financing tool has the potential to direct private capital toward distressed communities and serve as a catalyst for long-term, inclusive economic development. This may include downtown revitalization, workforce development, affordable housing, infrastructure, and business startup and expansion.
Applicants must submit their proposal to the Montana Department of Commerce by March 30, 2018.
This website includes more information on how to apply and how to identify eligible Census tracts for consideration: http://comdev.mt.gov/programs/opportunityzones.
This press release was updated on March 9 to reflect an extended application deadline.