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    Louisiana leaders meet with White House to discuss Opportunity Zones

    The White House hosted mayors, parish presidents, and representatives from economic development organizations across Louisiana on Jan. 23 to discuss ways that Opportunity Zones can continue to benefit citizens of Louisiana.

    The Opportunity Zone tax incentive provides a tremendous way to bring investment, jobs, and new business development to communities. In order to amplify the impact of this tax incentive, the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council was formed to better coordinate Federal economic development resources in Opportunity Zones and other distressed communities.

    The Council is exploring the ways in which Federal agencies can better partner with Opportunity Zone investors and provide some of the social services and other support that may be necessary for community revitalization to take place. Communities, investors, and entrepreneurs who want to effect change are not alone in this process.

    About Opportunity Zones
    In 2017, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which established Opportunity Zones to incentivize long-term investments in low-income communities across the country. These incentives offer capital gains tax relief to investors for new investment in designated Opportunity Zones. Opportunity Zones are anticipated to spur $100 billion in private capital investment. Qualified Opportunity Zones retain this designation for 10 years.

    In December 2018, President Trump signed Executive Order 13853, which established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. The Council is chaired by Ben Carson, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and is tasked with leading joint efforts between agencies and executive departments to engage with State, local, and tribal governments to find ways to better use public funds to revitalize urban and economically distressed communities.

    The following individuals were in attendance:

    Administration officials:

    • Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity & Revitalization Council
    • Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison
    • Ja’Ron Smith, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Office of American Innovation
    • Ben Hobbs, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy
    • Nicole Frazier, Special Assistant to the President & Director of Strategic Partnerships & African American Outreach

    Agency Officials:

    • Dr. John Fleming, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development
    • Daniel Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Treasury
    • Alfonso Costa Jr, Deputy Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
    • Chad Rupe, Administrator for Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chris Caldwell, Federal Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

    External Participants:

    • Julius Alsandor, Mayor of Opelousas
    • Monique Boulet, CEO, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Leslie Durham, Louisiana Designee, Delta Regional Authority
    • Scott Fontenot, Mayor of Eunice
    • Josh Guillory, Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish
    • Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans Regional Economic Development
    • Roy Holleman, Louisiana State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Chad LaComb, Economic Development Planner, Acadiana Planning Commission
    • Scott Martinez, President, North Louisiana Economic Partnership
    • Robby Miller, President, Tangipahoa Parish
    • Mandi Mitchell, Assistant Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development
    • Adrian Perkins, Mayor of Shreveport
    • Jan-Scott Richard, Mayor of Scott
    • Joel Robideaux, Former Mayor-President of Lafayette
    • Shawn Wilson,PhD., Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development
    • 100 other community stakeholders

    Feature photo courtesy of Hailey Hart
    Official White House Photo by Randy Florendo

    Read more »
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