Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury had granted approval of Opportunity Zones nominated by the State of Nebraska.  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created the Opportunity Zones program to spur economic growth by supporting new investment in designated zones.

“Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 20 communities across Nebraska now have another tool to help attract new investment and job opportunities,” said Governor Ricketts.  “This announcement builds on the positive news we’ve seen from companies from Nelnet to Wal-Mart, who are reinvesting their tax cuts into their workforce through higher wages and bonuses.  None of this would have been possible without the great work of Nebraska’s federal delegation, which unanimously supported the tax relief bill.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act authorized the governor of each U.S. state and territory to nominate a certain number of qualifying census tracts as “Opportunity Zones.”  Nebraska’s designations were officially confirmed today by the Treasury Department, which administers the program.

Investments made through certified investment vehicles created as  “Opportunity Funds” are used to spur economic growth in designated zones.  Parties who invest in Opportunity Funds can benefit from tax incentives, such as deferrals on capital gains tax.

“For the past two weeks, I’ve been traveling across Nebraska and hearing about the positive proceeds from tax reform.  Nebraskans are excited; they have more money in their pockets and many businesses are raising wages and giving workers bonuses.  The designation of these 44 opportunity zones is another good result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which helps continue the pattern of economic growth in our local communities,” said U.S. Senator Deb Fischer.

“Nebraskans believe in dignity and in community.  We want to see every neighborhood succeed and we want to tackle poverty with opportunity.  Washington has a long way to go but Congress took an important step by including Opportunity Zones in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  It’s simple: we want to celebrate the American Dream in every zip code by expanding investments in economically distressed communities,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse.

“I am pleased to see a diverse set of communities across Nebraska’s First Congressional District receive the Opportunity Zone designation.  We look forward to watching these areas grow as businesses increase their capital investment and drive economic opportunity for all,” said U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.

“Our goal is to ensure every American benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – whether through reducing the burden on existing taxpayers or ensuring those looking for work benefit from economic growth and job creation.  Encouraging capital investment in areas with the greatest need through Opportunity Zones is an important part of this effort, and I applaud President Trump and Governor Ricketts for their swift implementation of this provision,” said U.S. Congressman Adrian Smith.

“The Opportunity Zones created through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will incentivize entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in eastern Omaha, where there is a ‘jobs desert.’  This opportunity will enable businesses to create new jobs, as well as investment and development in these Opportunity Zones.  I have long championed these types of investment and job growth opportunities and was pleased to vote for them in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” said U.S. Congressman Don Bacon.

“We would like to thank our federal delegation for their work in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which made the opportunity zones program a reality,” said Nebraska Department of Economic Development Director Dave Rippe.  “We’re eager to begin working with our communities to harness this program to its full potential to grow Nebraska.  We also appreciate the support of the numerous local leaders who submitted program applications.  Their commitment to the economic well-being of their communities is an invaluable asset to our state.”

More information about the Opportunity Zones program and the census tracts selected for the program can be found by clicking here.