HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson visits Mississippi

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson is in Mississippi.

Dr. Carson will be in the state to visit several ‘Opportunity Zones’ which were recently designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service. 

In all, 100 zones were selected in Mississippi, and according to the department, ‘Opportunity Zone’ designations encourage long-term investments in low-income and rural communities through ‘Qualified Opportunity Funds.’

Dr. Carson will spend the day visiting the Vicksburg Sawmill, which is located in one of the 100 zones and learning about Operation Shoe String. The afterschool program supports over 200 K-5 students with teachers, volunteers and community partners offering support.

Private investors can earn tax relief through investments made in a designated ‘Opportunity Zone’. Tax benefits increase the longer investments are in place. This new community development program was established through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

In April, when the zones were announced, the Mississippi Development Authority outlined what would qualify an area to become an ‘Opportunity Zone’.

“Tracts with a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater, and/or family income of less than 80 percent of the area’s median income were eligible for consideration. Each state could nominate a minimum of 25 eligible census tracts, but no more than 25 percent of the number of eligible tracts within a state. Mississippi has 399 eligible census tracts. Gov. Bryant submitted 100 census tracts for consideration of Opportunity Zone designation.”

“Opportunity Zones in Mississippi will attract significant private sector investment, help grow our state’s economy and create new jobs,” said Governor Bryant said at the time. “This program is another business advantage existing industries and new companies will find in our state.”

For a map of designated ‘Opportunity Zones’ in Mississippi, click here.