On December 12, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. The order directs the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to form a multi-agency government council dedicated to developing recommendations to better achieve the underlying goal of the opportunity zones program: directing private investment dollars into economically distressed communities. The order also directs the council to find ways in which to direct more federal resources to the zones, and to collaborate with state and local governments throughout the process.
Originally authorized through passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Opportunity Zones program is a “place-based” economic development strategy that provides investors an incentive in the form of a generous capital gains tax deferral for investments made in designated economically distressed areas of the country. Altogether, more than 8,700 census tracts were designated as Opportunity Zones.
ICMA partners with several organizations in its policy advocacy work on behalf of our members and the local governments they represent. The executive directors and policy staff from the “Big 7” associations representing state and local governments: the National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, U.S Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and the Council of State Governments, and ICMA meet monthly to discuss legislative, judicial, and regulatory issues of importance to their members. ICMA also participates in coalitions with the Big 7 and other state and local government organizations to bring its professional management voice into national policy debates and problem-solving discussions with federal government leaders. ICMA is also a member of the State and Local Legal Center, which prepares amicus briefs representing the state and local government perspective in Supreme Court litigation.