IRS Publishes Second Round of Proposed Opportunity Zones Guidance, Opening the Door for More and Diverse Investments in Distressed Communities

On April 17, 2019, the Treasury Department released a second set of proposed regulations relating to the operation of Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) and Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs). While several key questions remain, the regulations remove many of the most significant hurdles that have held back investment since Opportunity Zones became law, especially for investment into new and expanding operating businesses in designated communities nationwide. …




“Small Business and the American Worker”

March 6, 2019

Chairman Rubio, Ranking Member Cardin, and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today.

My name is John Lettieri. I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Innovation Group (EIG). EIG is a research and advocacy organization focused on the decline of economic dynamism and the geography of economic growth and opportunity.

My testimony today will focus on one simple message: the well-being of American workers depends upon entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are facing…

First, the good news

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its 2016 Business Dynamics Statistics, providing the authoritative latest figures on startup activity across all sectors of the U.S. economy. It came bearing modest good news: 2016 was the best year for U.S. business formation since the financial crisis. In total 433,000 new firms launched in 2016, an increase of 19,000 over 2015 numbers.

A little perspective

The long term picture is less rosy, however. Startup activity still remains well below historical norms. In fact, the number of new firms launched in 2016 was still 125,000 short of the number…

Amazon’s high-profile HQ2 competition has rightly put the issue of economic development incentives under the microscope. There is plenty of evidence that traditional state and local location incentives are both wasteful and ineffective, creating a race to the bottom among communities. In the case of HQ2, the selection of Long Island City has also raised questions about a new federal incentive fundamentally designed to promote bottom-up growth in struggling communities nationwide.

That’s because, in addition to a state incentive package valued at more than $1.5 billion in tax credits and other subsidies, the relatively prosperous census tract Amazon will soon…

This article is the first in a new EIG Authors Series in which we explore policy issues and ideas with experts from across the ideological spectrum. In this inaugural piece, EIG’s John Lettieri speaks with the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass to discuss his new book, The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America, currently available for pre-order and goes on sale November 13. In his book, Cass explores an American worker in crisis, and re-evaluates American society, economics, and public policy implications. Follow Cass on Twitter at @Oren_Cass.

Note: The views below do not…

By John W. Lettieri, Co-Founder and President, Economic Innovation Group

October 3, 2018


Chairman Risch, Ranking Member Cardin, and members of the Committee:

My name is John Lettieri and I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Thank you for inviting me to testify regarding implementation of the new Opportunity Zones tax benefit, which became law as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), and holds the potential to promote much-needed economic growth in struggling communities nationwide.

EIG was…

Recently, EIG joined with the Governor’s Woods Foundation and Steve Clemons of The Atlantic to co-host the 8th Annual Summit on the Economy. This summit brought together America’s leading economic thinkers, innovators, policymakers, and business leaders to cut through the conventional wisdom and provide needed perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. economy on trade negotiations, debts and deficits, job growth, and economic mobility, among other things.

In case you weren’t able to join us, don’t miss the these takes on today’s most important economic debates shared between the 40 world-class speakers and over 500 attendees.

In Making…

Key takeaways:

  • The first phase of Opportunity Zones implementation is now complete: The U.S. Treasury Secretary has now certified the census tracts nominated by the governor of every U.S. state and territory and the mayor of Washington, D.C. For the next ten years, private investors will be eligible for certain tax benefits in return for investing in these low-income communities.
  • Governors tailored their selections to the needs and potential of their communities. They relied heavily on public and local government engagement, rigorous analytics, peer-learning, and interagency collaboration to determine their zones.
  • Governors prioritized higher-need places. Zones have an average poverty…

By John W. Lettieri, Co-Founder and President, Economic Innovation Group

May 17, 2018


Chairman Paulsen, Ranking Member Heinrich, and members of the committee: it is a pleasure to be with you today.

I am the Co-founder and President of the Economic Innovation Group (EIG), a bipartisan research and advocacy organization. EIG helped to design and champion the Investing in Opportunity Act, legislation authored by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ron Kind (D-WI). …

Today, states will begin asking the Treasury Department to bless their chosen low-income community census tracts as Opportunity Zones. We anticipate that about half of the states will submit their zone nominations by the March 21st deadline, and half will opt for the 30-day extension to April 20th.

By early summer, the country’s map of economic development will be reshaped by roughly 8,700 census tracts equipped with a powerful new tool to catalyze growth after being relegated to the sidelines of American prosperity for too long. …

Economic Innovation Group

The official account of the Economic Innovation Group. We are an ideas lab and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing broad-based economic growth.

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