A great opportunity for Miss-Lou

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 16, 2018

Last week our community received an early Christmas gift that could have benefits for years to come.

With the stroke of a pen, President Trump signed into law a new development program that potentially could help draw investors to our community.

Last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established Opportunity Zones, but Wednesday’s presidential action established a new council to oversee the Opportunity Zone program.

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The goal of the program is simple: offer tax benefits to investors willing to put money into projects in economically challenged areas of the country.

This new economic development tool — like most such programs — will not immediately cause money to pour into our community.

But as Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said, the program will make a good deal for an investor even better.

Russ’ point was that an economic development project must “work” here already to cause the Opportunity Zone designation to have much of a benefit.

It is just one more tool in the economic developers’ tool bag to help bring in new jobs and investment.

We hope the new designation will help sweeten the pot for would-be developers who are choosing between investing in our community and another.

For many years, Natchez was not really in the game of economic development. We are now in the game, regularly having a turn at bat and we’re due to connect with the ball again soon. The new program simply gives us a little better edge knocking a project out of the park soon.