Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke on “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” in an interview that aired Sunday about proposed new regulations aimed at making it easier for investors to take advantage of tax breaks for investing in “Opportunity Zones” in low-income areas.
“Policies have been pretty much aimed at putting people into programs,” Carson said, and now the Trump administration is trying to get poor Americans “out of the programs and self-sufficient.”
President Trump said last week that 8,700 neighborhoods across all 50 states and U.S. territories have received the Opportunity Zone designation and would be eligible for the federal tax incentives he's proposed.
“The entire island of Puerto Rico is an opportunity zone,” Carson said.
“We are very concerned about the rural areas, too,” he added.
Trump’s proposed regulations were issued by the Treasury Department. They sought to clear up questions that were keeping some investors from using the incentives.
The program was included in the $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation that Trump pushed through Congress in 2017.
The new Opportunity Zones were set up to enable private investors to re-invest profits into designated areas.
“They are going to invest that money somewhere,” Carson said.
He noted private investors would do what they do because they “want to be successful.”
As White House officials have explained, investors in Opportunity Zones could get tax benefits by deferring their capital gains taxes invested in the zones until 2026. They also could receive discounts of up to 15 percent on capital-gains profits invested in the zones and would pay no capital-gains taxes on investments in the zones held for at least 10 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.