BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today designated 25 areas in North Dakota as Opportunity Zones under a community development incentive program established by the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
The program gives each state’s governor the authority to designate Opportunity Zones, which are areas of populations that are eligible to receive private investments through Opportunity Funds.
The 25 census tracts designated by Burgum as Opportunity Zones include rural, tribal and metropolitan populations. The tracts are in 15 counties: Barnes, Benson, Burleigh, Cass, Dickey, Emmons, Grand Forks, McKenzie, Morton, Rolette, Sioux, Stutsman, Walsh, Ward and Wells.
Out of a total of 88 census tracts eligible for the Opportunity Zone designation, 59 applications were submitted by leaders within the tracts. Applications were reviewed by a cross-agency team within state government that included the Governor’s Office, Department of Commerce, Bank of North Dakota, Housing Finance Agency and Indian Affairs Commission.
“We’re deeply grateful for all who applied and showed interest in establishing these Opportunity Zones, which will help communities and rural areas achieve their full potential and create healthy, vibrant communities to attract and retain a 21st century workforce,” Burgum said. “The Opportunity Zone program offers attractive federal tax relief incentives that will stimulate much-needed private capital investment to help revitalize our low-income areas in North Dakota.”
Opportunity Zones are defined as low-income census tracts where the poverty rate is 20 percent or greater and/or family income is less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. Opportunity Funds allow U.S. investors holding unrealized gains in stocks and mutual funds to pool their resources in projects located in Opportunity Zones, which will be focused on rebuilding low-income communities.
A complete list of the census tracts can be found at https://www.business.nd.gov/finance/TaxIncentives/OpportunityZonesIncentive/.
The U.S. Treasury Department will finalize approval of the designated census tracts and administer the Opportunity Zone Program.