The Investing in Opportunity Act of 2016
Last summer, Senator Tim Scott , Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Ron Kind, a bipartisan group of members and I came together with the mission to develop solutions to help boost private sector investment in struggling and underserved communities.
Today, we are delivering on our promise and introducing legislation called the Investing in Opportunity Act of 2016, a new approach to connecting struggling communities with the private investment they need to grow and thrive.
Across the country, while there have been some improvements in our economy, not enough Americans feel they are getting a fair shot and more people feel like they are getting left behind.
- 50 million people live in distressed communities.
- Startup capital is heavily concentrated in only a handful of states and metro areas.
- Economic growth in underserved and distressed communities is being held back by the lack of access to capital and new investments.
In Ohio, we’ve made strides in encouraging businesses to come to our state and our unemployment rate has dropped at a steady pace over the past few years. However, an analysis by the Economic Innovation Group finds that certain regions of Ohio are doing better than others.
- 17 percent of Ohio’s population lives in distressed zip-codes.
- In Columbus, 21 percent of our population lives in a distressed community.
- Cleveland (#1), Toledo (#4), and Cincinnati (#10) rank in the nation’s top ten cities with residents living in distressed zip-codes.
We can do better to ensure our communities become stronger so that someone’s success isn’t determined by where they live.
The Investing in Opportunity Act aims to boost private sector investment in distressed communities in 3 key ways:
- First, it removes barriers for investors to fund enterprises in underserved communities through “Opportunity Funds.”
- Second, it allows states to create “Opportunity Zones” for investors to fund and support entrepreneurs and small businesses in areas that need them most.
- Third, it incentivizes long-term investor commitments in distressed communities by eliminating capital gains taxes for certain types of investments.
Unlocking Our Potential
In Ohio, there is a reason more than 48,000 citizens voted for America’s most famous inventor, Thomas Edison, to proudly represent our state in the U.S. Capitol. From Edison’s birthplace in Milan to the Wright brothers’ bike shop in downtown Dayton, our long history of entrepreneurial success shines bright.
But, we can do more to support today’s inventors, entrepreneurs, and small business owners to ensure they can also achieve the American Dream. There is plenty of potential to unlock so more people, no matter their background, find opportunities to succeed.
We can start by getting Washington out of the way and boosting access to private sector investment by removing barriers to economic growth. The Investing in Opportunity Act does just that to help our communities and cities flourish with the kick-start they need.
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