Community Development Category Archives

CohnReznick Launches Opportunity Zone and NMTC Mapping Tool

CohnReznick has launched an updated interactive mapping tool designed to assist New Markets Tax Credit and Opportunity Zone Investment stakeholders.  This mapping tool helps access eligibility using census-based criteria from the 2011-2015 and 2006-2010 American Community Surveys.  Either census database may be used to evaluate eligibility through a transition period ending October 31, 2018*.  To identify the designated Opportunity Zones for potential investment or Opportunity Zone related projects, enter an address.  If an address falls within an Opportunity Zone, that designation will appear. Enter an address or US census tract number for your project to see if it is “Qualified” for the NMTC Program and if it meets “Severely Distressed” criteria. Any correlating Opportunity Zone designation also will appear if it meets that program’s criteria.

Additional Resource:

Opportunity Zone Webinar Recording:  Stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones were created to help spur investment in distressed communities. There is estimated to be $2 trillion worth of unrealized capital gains “sitting on the sidelines” with the potential to unleash this for investment across America in distressed, low-income communities. Once accumulated and deployed, this capital will help rejuvenate these micro-economies, stimulate growth and help level the playing field for those living and doing business in low-income communities. Not uncommon in the U.S., tax policy is playing a central role in helping to how we administer public policy around creating economic growth. CohnReznick’s Ira Weinstein and Beth Mullen discuss this innovate policy. Hear the program background, how it works, advantages, tax implications and other useful information in this conversational 25-minute recording.  Click Here to View.


Enterprise Publishes New White Paper on Gentrification

Enterprise has published a new whitepaper entitled Gentrification: Framing Our Perceptions, which summarizes several approaches used in recent studies of gentrification and details the complications these create for identifying where it occurs. It describes how different definitions can lead to different findings about the consequences of gentrification, and how these inconsistencies affect policy making.

Census Bureau Publishes Opportunity Atlas

In a collaboration with Raj Chetty and Nathan Hendren from Harvard University and John Friedman from Brown University, the US Census Bureau has constructed the Opportunity Atlasa comprehensive Census tract-level dataset of children’s outcomes in adulthood using data covering nearly the entire U.S. population. For each tract, the Census Bureau estimates children’s outcomes in adulthood such as earnings distributions and incarceration rates by parental income, race, and gender. These estimates allow us to trace the roots of outcomes such as poverty and incarceration to the neighborhoods in which children grew up.

To build the Atlas, the Census Bureau uses de-identified data from the 2000 and 2010 decennial Censuses linked to data from Federal income tax returns and the 2005-2015 American Community Surveys (ACS) to obtain information on income, parental characteristics, children’s neighborhoods, and other variables. The Census Bureau’s focus on children born between 1978-1983, including those born in the U.S. and authorized childhood immigrants. Our data include the characteristics of 20 million children, approximately 94% of all children born during the time period.

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Economic & Fixed Income Insights, Sept. 26, 2018

Federal Reserve officials raised interest rates for a third time this year and reaffirmed their outlook for further gradual hikes well into 2019. The quarter-point increase boosted the benchmark federal funds rate to a target range of 2% to 2.25%. In other economic news, consumer confidence rose in September, notching its highest level in about 18 years. The Conference Board’s index rose to 138.4 in September from 134.7 in August. The all-time high of 144.7 was reached in 2000. Bond markets extended their recent selloff ahead of the Fed’s latest policy decision. The 10-year UST yield was up 4 basis points to 3.10%, and the 30-year UST finished 3 basis points higher to 3.23%.  In the municipal market, both the 10-year and 30-year MMD were 4 basis points higher for the week, yielding 2.62% and 3.26% respectively.

Interest Rate Observations

Source: Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg. The table above reflects market conditions as of September 25, 2018.

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Council of Development Finance Agencies Issues Report on Opportunity Zones

The Council of Development Finance Agencies has issued a new report titled, “CDFA Opportunity Zones Report: State of the States.” Recognizing that Opportunity Zones have the potential to be a transformative economic development tool in distressed areas around the country, CDFA members are actively developing Opportunity Zones strategies to attract investment, identify additional development finance tools to work alongside Opportunity Fund investments, and to align local economic development priorities with their financing capacity. It is essential that state and local agencies recognize that not every Opportunity Zone will receive investment without their leadership. Every state, district, and territory should be engaging their local stakeholders to provide consistent information and clear education about Opportunity Zones.  This report details a survey of 41 states completed in July 2018 as partC of a coordinated technical assistance webinar provided to state agencies from CDFA and the Economic Innovation Group. It also includes several examples of state Opportunity Zones strategies actively in development.  Click here to download the report.