Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson had some huge numbers to announce while describing the early successes of President Donald Trump‘s executive order forming “Opportunity Zones” in low-income, urban areas.
According to Carson, private businesses have committed to spending $25 billion in inner cities throughout the United States, pledging to build businesses in areas that have been abandoned economically.
Carson told Fox Business host Stuart Varney that companies are creating jobs and opening businesses in large cities throughout the United States, capturing the excitement of Republicans and Democrats alike.
“We already have over 25 billion dollars committed to ‘opportunity zones.’ I’ve had the opportunity to visit several of them and just last Friday, I was in St. Louis where an old, abandoned foundry is serving as the nidus for the entire area and the opportunity zone. They’re going to have entertainment. They’re going to have grocery stores. They’re going to have apartments. They’re going to have businesses for employment, training. All kinds of things going on and an enormous amount of excitement. And the best thing is there were Republicans there and Democrats there and they were all having a good time together.”
Carson explained that the Trump administration is optimistic about the development of “opportunity zones” because it could lead to permanent investments in the city instead of just temporary assistance to those in need. Trump’s executive order offered a tax incentive to businesses to invest in “opportunity zones.” The longer the businesses stay, the more the incentive grows.
“The real difference with these opportunity zones is that the investment doesn’t really pay off until [the business] has been there for five years,” explained Carson, noting that the largest incentive doesn’t kick in until the company has been operating for a decade.
“You’re going to be very interested in your return on investment so you’re not just going to walk away,” Carson explained. “That’s really going to make a big difference. That’s never been done before.”
When President Trump announced the executive order forming the “opportunity zones,” he explained that he believes the program will ensure that all Americans are lifted by the recent economic boom.
“Our goal is to make sure America’s great new prosperity is broadly shared by all our citizens,” said Trump, later adding, “No citizen will be forgotten, no community will be ignored, and no American will be left on the sidelines.”