Enacted as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones represent a potentially transformative effort to incentivize investment in economically distressed areas. This issue of Evidence Matters places the new initiative into the context of other place-based tax incentives aimed at fostering community development and examines how state and local governments are positioning themselves to maximize benefits for their jurisdictions.
The lead article, “Place-Based Tax Incentives for Community Development,” reviews past and current place-based tax incentives and the evidence of their effectiveness and concludes with an introduction to Opportunity Zones. The Research Spotlight, “Evaluating Place-Based Incentives” by Daniel Marcin, discusses the methodological challenges of evaluations of past place-based tax incentives and suggests methods for evaluating Opportunity Zones. Finally, the In Practice article, “Shaping Investment in Opportunity Zones,” discusses how Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, Louisville, and Oklahoma City are attracting investment and spreading the word about Opportunity Zones through partnerships, online portals, and investment prospectuses.
We hope that this edition of Evidence Matters provides a helpful overview of this critical topic. Our next issue will focus on factory-built housing. Please provide feedback on any of our issues at www.huduser.gov/forums.