Last week, the Legislature passed one of WEDA’s top legislative priorities – the Wisconsin Opportunities Zone Development Bill. The legislation is now awaiting Governor Tony Evers’ signature.

The bipartisan legislation (Assembly Bill 532) will enhance Opportunity Zones tax incentives in Wisconsin to help drive private investment to economically challenged, capital-starved communities across the state.

Under the federal Opportunity Zones program established by Congress in 2017, low-income community census tracts were used to determine eligible Opportunity Zones to ensure private investment is directed to economically distressed communities. Wisconsin has 120 Opportunity Zones, which are in every congressional district, 44 counties and 60 municipalities across the state.

Ultimately, Opportunity Zones aim to unlock billions of dollars in unrealized capital gains by offering tax incentives that encourage investors to reinvest their gains into Opportunity Zone projects, including business expansion and start-ups and significant commercial and residential development.

By doubling the Opportunity Zones capital gains tax reduction at the state level for individuals who invest in Wisconsin Opportunity Zone projects, AB 532 will encourage Wisconsin investors to keep their wealth in-state to help create inclusive economic opportunities in both urban and rural Wisconsin communities.

These Opportunity Zones projects will have a positive impact on communities in terms of job creation and retention and other community needs, such as affordable housing and quality childcare facilities.

The Assembly approved the legislation on a unanimous voice vote. The Senate passed the measure on a bipartisan 26-7 vote.

The WEDA Government Affairs Team is working to encourage Governor Evers to sign AB 532 into law – and help make Wisconsin an even better place to live, work and do business.