Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:52 pm
The 120 Economic Opportunity Zones proposed by Gov. Scott Walker were approved by U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin on Monday, the governor’s office announced.
The opportunity zone program was created as part of the federal tax reform packages passed late last year. States were given until March 21 to nominate up to 25 percent of the census tracts in the state that are considered as low-income communities in the federal new markets tax credit program.
Walker proposed the maximum number of census tracts possible for the state. Forty-eight of the 120 are in southeastern Wisconsin, including 34 in the city of Milwaukee. A number of the zones are on the north and northwest sides of the city, including the area around Northridge Mall and the 30th Street Industrial Corridor.
Portions of the near west side and south side areas, particularly along National Avenue, are also included along with parts of Walker’s Point, the Menomonee Valley and a stretch of Water Street between Juneau Avenue and Brady Street.
“With our newly designated Economic Opportunity Zones, Wisconsin’s thriving businesses will have a new opportunity to invest in their neighbors and help our local communities,” Walker said in a statement. “These recommendations reach communities across our state – urban, rural, and tribal – that are positioned for strong and sustained growth.”
Opportunity zones allow for certain realized gains to be temporarily deferred from gross income if they are invested in properties in qualified opportunity zones. The idea is for the investments to help designated areas develop and the return on the investment will have a reduced tax liability.