- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

President Trump’s Opportunity Zones program has won over California’s Democratic chief executive.

Gov. Gavin Newsom told a crowd at Stanford University that he was a bit “perplexed” and skeptical of Mr. Trump’s plan for revitalizing low-income areas, although a deeper look into the details convinced him of its merit.

“We all heard about these opportunity zones. We were a bit perplexed,” Mr. Newsom said Monday at the Opportunity Zone Investor Summit, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. “A lot of us, at least on my side of the political aisle said, ‘That actually sounds like a good idea. Wait a second, it came out of which administration? I’m still trying to get my arms around it. Maybe it’s too good of an idea.’”

Mr. Trump’s plan — part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — was further elucidated in a 2018 executive order on the creation of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.

“My Administration will implement reforms that streamline existing regulations, protect taxpayers by optimizing use of Federal resources, stimulate economic opportunity and mobility, encourage entrepreneurship, expand quality educational opportunities, develop and rehabilitate quality housing stock, promote workforce development, and promote safety and prevent crime in urban and economically distressed communities,” Mr. Trump wrote.

If successful, the president’s plan will benefit 52 million Americans living in economically distressed communities.

“The program reduces capital gains taxes for real estate and business investors in designated low-income areas,” the newspaper noted. “After holding an investment for 10 years, investors pay no capital gains taxes, which can otherwise run as high as 20 percent.”

“We want to address the issue that we have the highest tax rate in the United States. We’re not naive about that,” Mr. Newsom added.

The governor then added a warning for would-be investors: “We don’t just believe in growth. We believe in inclusion. You can’t have one without the other. I appreciate your interest. I hope it’s not just to make a quick buck.”

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