spark development, create jobs, and yield investor profits. For many investors the next big financial happening is just about everywhere. Across the country some 8,700 “opportunity zones” have been created – areas where need and tax breaks are bring- ing in billions of dollars in new investment. More remarkably, such sums have been raised even though opportunity zone regula- tions from the Treasury Depart- ment have not even been finalized. NEWTAX RULES Our story begins on page 355 of the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, the 2017 legislation which updated the federal tax code for the first time since 1986. Under tax reform, “a population census tract that is a low-income community” can be designated as a qualified oppor- tunity zone. In fact, as many as 25 percent of the census tracts in any state can be certified with this new and special status. It may seem odd that so many census tracts are down-and-out given low unemployment and rising average incomes. But, for many workers and in many areas, the economy has not delivered. The ex- planation, it turns out, is that with the shift from factories and smelt- ers to electrons and job-sharing, many workers have seen no real wage increases in decades. “Despite some ups and downs over the past several decades,” says the Pew Research Center, “today’s real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) has about the same purchasing power it did 40 years ago. And what wage gains there have been have mostly flowed to the highest-paid tier of workers.” (parenthesis theirs)

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