Md. Gov. Hogan announces plan to boost investment in ‘opportunity zones’

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan answers questions in the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center July 3, 2018. (WTOP/Sarah Gibson)

WASHINGTON — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday the designation of 149 struggling neighborhoods where federal dollars would be used to encourage investment in job creation, to be called “opportunity zones.”

Hogan made the announcement in Baltimore City, where 42 opportunity zones will be located. Twenty-five more will be in Prince George’s County, and Hogan said at least one such zone is located in every one of the 24 jurisdictions in the state.

“Our goal is to give these communities — and, more importantly, the citizens who live there — greater opportunities and more hope for a better future,” Hogan said.

“Providing federal gains tax incentives is a great start, but it may not be enough to ensure the revitalization of many of these neighborhoods and communities,” he added.

So in addition, Hogan announced that he would establish an “Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force” by issuing an executive order. The task force will be led by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.

Hogan said the body would be charged with establishing goals for each zone. He added that he wants to make sure that state and local programs can help “supercharge” the program.

“Our plan is to make Maryland’s 149 opportunity zones the most competitive ones in America,” Hogan said.

He added that he is also introducing legislation to allow businesses that locate or expand in an opportunity zone a 10-year tax credit for each job they create.

The “More Opportunities For Marylanders Act of 2019” would also waive business and recording fees, and give businesses property tax exemptions for businesses located in an opportunity zone.

There would also be a $3 million program called “Opportunity Works,” which would provide grants for private sector employment training programs.

The plans announced Thursday also include $20 million for the construction and renovation of affordable housing.

In another effort to attract investment, Hogan announced the launch of something called the Maryland Opportunity Zone Information Exchange, an online resource for investors, fund managers, and new and existing business owners. It would also be open to the public to find out more information on the programs.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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