Sacramento, California - The United States Department of the Treasury recently released the final certifications for California’s Opportunity Zone designations. Of these zones, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) is very pleased to announce the sweeping success of his requests for the inclusion of numerous local census tracts.
“It was essential for us to jump on this chance to ensure our area was equitably represented in these designations and able to wield this resource. This tool will increase our region’s ability to enable redevelopment, spur economic growth, and create new avenues for affordable housing in our district’s most vulnerable communities,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.
In collaboration with regional stakeholders such as Riverside County Supervisor Perez, the City of Coachella, the County of Imperial along with a coalition of Imperial County city managers, Assemblymember Garcia submitted several requests to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development to urge the consideration of eligible areas within his district.
“Opportunity Zones are additional economic development tools that will aid our efforts to attract much‑needed investment and jobs to reduce poverty in communities with high need and unemployment,” said Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I was proud to work with Assemblymember Garcia to establish opportunity zones within Eastern Riverside County, including the eastern Coachella Valley and areas of Indio, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Blythe.”
County of Imperial, Chairman Ray Castillo, District 5 Supervisor added, “Thanks to the collaboration with the cities of Brawley, Calexico, El Centro and Holtville, and with the support of our area’s legislators, Assemblymember Garcia and Senator Hueso, we were able to secure the designation of seven tracts. The County of Imperial is eager to better understand and take advantage of this new economic development tool. Our hope is that this program will help to bring investment resources to our community by creating new businesses or expanding current ones in the designated zones, thereby resulting in more jobs.”
This new economic development program was established through federal tax reform legislation (H.R. 1). Governors were allowed to designate eligible census tracts as Opportunity Zones within their states. Investments made through opportunity funds in these zones would be allowed to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains. Eligible tracts that were nominated were required to meet specific poverty rate or median family income criteria.
“With the fast action of Assemblymember Garcia and his staff, we were able to get most of the Coachella Valley and Imperial County designated as Opportunity Zones under the new 2017 Tax Law. This designation has the potential to provide significant new funding for affordable housing and community development in our community,” said Julie Bornstein, Executive Director of the Coachella Valley Housing Coalition. This nonprofit affordable housing development organization provides services within the Coachella, Indio, Blythe, North Shore, Mecca, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, Brawley, La Quinta and Salton City areas.