Nicole Motamed

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This article will discuss the economic backdrop against which legislation was enacted to spur economic development in distressed areas, focusing on the creation of the Opportunity Zones program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The first half of the article will provide an in-depth analysis of the Opportunity Zone incentive and consider its procedures and implications, including the tax benefits of the program and the necessary criteria to be qualified for its benefits. It will also present both the negative and positive impacts that have surfaced since the program’s inception and which have in turn spurred a nationwide debate regarding its practical usage. The second half of the article will then shift to focus exclusively on the implementation of the program in California and the subsequent social and economic effects opportunity zones have had within the state. In this narrowly tailored discussion, the article will consider the future of opportunity zones, emphasizing their utilization to proliferate student housing and the more recent initiative to use the Opportunity Zones program to aid federally declared disaster areas, including Malibu. It will examine new legislation called the Disaster Opportunity Zone Act and its prospective application in cities like Malibu, which have recently been heavily burdened by recurring natural disasters. This article ultimately seeks to shed light on the significant contribution and positive impact opportunity zones have had throughout the country and their potential to help California’s economy and the communities that have been left in despair amid catastrophic wildfires.

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