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Will President Trump's 'opportunity zones' work for Cincinnati?

Tax breaks incentivize development in low-income areas
Posted: 6:44 PM, Aug 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-03 07:53:41-04
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CINCINNATI — On his campaign stop Thursday, President Trump talked about the creation of opportunity zones to boost low-income neighborhoods through economic development.

“Our tax plan created 9,000 opportunity zones - hottest thing going,” the president touted.

And it’s a concept that’s gaining traction in the Queen City.

In the state of Ohio there are more than 300 opportunity zones, with 30 in Hamilton County.

"Providing massive new incentives for investment and job creation in distressed communities," the president said.

Opportunity zones are a fairly new concept. The designation comes from Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is based on census tracts.

The goal is to incentivize investment in low-income areas by providing a tax break.

"These are really working out incredibly well," Trump said.

Donnie Warner, a public finance and real estate attorney with Calfee, Halter and Griswold, said the potential impact “remains to seen."

"We know the intent of the program and we know people are making the investments," Warner said.

"Right now we're seeing most real estate investments in the form of mixed use development or hotel development."

With businesses hopefully to follow.

Fourth Street Downtown, is an opportunity zone, and so are the West End and Madisonville.

Sen. Rob Portman has been a big advocate of opportunity zones. In June, Portman held a roundtable with local chambers to push the idea.

"Until these projects are up and running, we really won't know the magnitude of the project," Warner said.

Warner says it'll probably be another five to 10 years before we can really measure if it's helped or hurt low-income neighborhoods.

RELATED: President Trump blasts Democrats during rally in Downtown Cincinnati.