Unlocks new private investment for economically distressed communities
Feb 06 2017
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today joined Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to introduce the Investing in Opportunity Act (S. 2868), which creates geographically-targeted investment funds to strengthen America's economically distressed urban and rural communities. The bipartisan legislation creates new channels for investment in small businesses, supporting entrepreneurs, redeveloping blighted properties, and investing in local infrastructure projects and other activities, which will help create jobs and opportunities in regions left behind since the end of the Great Recession of 2008.
“This bipartisan legislation addresses several troubling trends in modern American capitalism: the lack of investment capital for entrepreneurs in rural and urban areas, and the demand by today's investors for quick returns,” Sen. Warner said. “The Investing in Opportunity Act does not create new tax credits or involve public sector financing. Instead, it creates pools of ‘patient capital,’ and motivates longer-term investment through a modest reduction in capital gains taxes after geographically targeted investments are held for at least five, seven, or ten years.”
U.S. investors have trillions of dollars of capital that could be put to use in restoring jobs and opportunity in forgotten communities throughout the country. The Investing in Opportunity Act would encourage investors of all types to move their capital off the sidelines and reinvest it in places that need it most. The legislation facilitates private investment in the following ways:
- Removes barriers to investment through a temporary capital gains deferral in exchange for reinvesting them in distressed communities
- Provides a new way for investors across the nation to pool resources through newly-created “Opportunity Funds,” established specifically for making investments in distressed communities
- Concentrates capital by establishing “Opportunity Zones,” geographically targeted low-income areas that will be designated by governors
- Encourages investors to make long-term commitments to these communities by tying incentives to longevity
The legislation aligns with several policy priorities identified by Sen. Warner as honorary chair of The Aspen Institute's Future of Work project, including motivating more diverse and longer-term domestic investments to strengthen local economies and sustain local jobs. Sen. Warner has been a vocal critic of recent U.S. business and investment trends, including the overall lack of domestic investment and a preoccupation with channeling the overwhelming majority of corporate profits into quarterly dividends and stock buybacks instead of longer-term investment in workers and communities left behind since the 2008 recession.
Additional co-sponsors of the Investing in Opportunity Act include: Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Gary Peters (D-MI), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Michael Bennett (D-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chris Coons (D-DE), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Todd Young (IN).