Legislation was recently proposed to enhance Wisconsin tax benefits under the federal Opportunity Zones program. The program was established by Congress with bipartisan support in 2017 to drive long-term investments to economically challenged communities across the county.

The bill (LRB-1243), which is a top legislative priority for WEDA, is currently being circulated for co-sponsorship, which provides lawmakers an opportunity to “sign-on” to the bill to show their support for the proposal. The bill’s authors include Representatives Nancy VanderMeer (R) and Jill Billings (D); and Senators Dan Feyen (R) and Janis Ringhand (D).

Please contact your legislators TODAY and urge them to co-sponsor LRB-1243 – The Wisconisn Opportunity Zones Development Act.


The innovative Opportunity Zones program offers tax incentives to encourage investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Zone projects, including residential development and business expansion.

Under the program, low-income community census tracts were used to determine eligible Opportunity Zones to ensure the program drives private investment to the nation’s most economically challenged communities. Wisconsin has 120 Opportunity Zones, which are in both urban and rural areas of the state. CLICK HERE to view the Wisconsin Opportunity Zone look-up map.

Ultimately, the program strives to unlock billions of dollars in unrealized capital gains in the United States. Individuals who invest in Opportunity Zones – through qualified Opportunity Funds – receive tax incentives including tax deferral on the invested capital gains and tax-free growth on the Opportunity Fund investment earnings if the investment is held for at least 10 years. In addition, investors receive a 10% reduction in the original capital gains tax if the Opportunity Fund investment is held for at least five years and a 15% reduction after seven years.

Last session, Wisconsin incorporated the federal Opportunity Zones tax provisions into state law, which means the deferral and exclusion treatments apply when calculating state income taxes.

LRB-1243 would double the Opportunity Zones tax reduction at the state level for investors who invest in Wisconsin Qualified Opportunity Funds – which are required to hold at least 90% of their assets in Wisconsin Opportunity Zone projects. Under the bill, investors would receive a 20% state capital gains tax reduction if they hold an investment in a Wisconsin Qualified Opportunity Fund for at least five years, and a 30% reduction after seven years.

The legislation will encourage Wisconsin investors to keep their investment dollars in Wisconsin, strategically directing much-need private capital to communities across the state and accelerating economic growth and job creation.


E-mail or call your state legislators today and urge them to co-sponsor LRB-1243 – the Wisconsin Opportunity Zones Development Act. Please feel free to use WEDA’s sample e-mail when contacting your lawmakers. All you have to do is cut-and-paste it into an e-mail. Please consider personalizing the e-mail to reference Opportunity Zones in your community.

If you don’t know who your state legislators are, or do not have their contact information, simply CLICK HERE and type your home address in the upper right corner text box. Remember to contact both your state senator and state representative.

Please remember to blind copy WEDA Legislative Affairs Director Michael Welsh on any e-mail you send to lawmakers so WEDA can track its advocacy efforts.

If you have any questions on this WEDA Advocacy Action Alert request or would like additional information on the issue, please contact WEDA at mwelsh@weda.org.