Staff Editorial

Opportunity zones show value of intrastate cooperation

Procter and Gamble is seen in Iowa City on Feb. 7, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Procter and Gamble is seen in Iowa City on Feb. 7, 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Local leaders are hopeful an overlooked portion of last year’s federal tax reform package will be a boon for struggling neighborhoods.

As part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed by President Donald Trump, certain low-income census tracts are eligible to be designated “opportunity zones,” meaning people who invest in new projects in those areas qualify for special tax benefits. Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds submitted potential zones for federal consideration, including several in Eastern Iowa.

We applaud this effort to spur investment in the corners of our state which have been left behind when it comes to economic growth. And we are pleased to see local and state leaders cooperating for the benefit of all Iowans.

Iowa communities clearly have a hunger for this type of investment. In all, the state received 108 opportunity zone applications from 55 municipalities across Iowa. Under the law, the state could only submit 62 tracts for consideration by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The nominations submitted by Gov. Reynolds’ office last week are a sign of healthy intrastate collaboration, at a moment with no shortage of political drama between the elected officials in Eastern Iowa and the elected officials serving in Des Moines. Even as the politicians bicker, it’s good to see their hired staffers quietly plugging away behind the scenes on projects which could benefit all of us.

In Cedar Rapids, potential opportunity zones include downtown, the MedQuarter, NewBo and Kingston Village. City leaders say those are in line with the city’s existing development plans and could also assist in flood recovery projects.

In Iowa City, the nominated tracts house the Procter & Gamble factory, which announced plans earlier this year to drastically reduce staffing, and the Iowa City Marketplace, which developers have attempted to bolster in recent years.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

And in Coralville, leaders hope to get opportunity zone status for much of the part of town south of Interstate 80 and north of Highway 6, which includes Coral Ridge Mall and the Iowa River Landing.

Staff members in all three cities assembled worthwhile proposals and we are eager to see each of them approved by the federal government. Important questions about how these zones will function remain unanswered, but we are confident the designations will provide valuable incentives for private sector investment.

This is an important step toward ensuring all Iowans benefit from economic development, no matter their ZIP code.

• Comments: (319) 398-8262; editorial@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Want to join the conversation?

Consider subscribing to TheGazette.com and participate in discussing the important issues to our community with other Gazette subscribers.

Already a Gazette or TheGazette.com subscriber? Just login here with your account email and password.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.