Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Require Reporting on OZ Investments
U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Todd Young (R-IN) have introduced S.1344, a bipartisan bill to restore reporting requirements for Opportunity Zones. Specifically, the bill would require the Treasury Department to collect data on the number of Opportunity Funds created and the impact the funds are having on underserved communities. The data would have to be reported on an annual basis to Congress.
“Whether it be rural farm towns in Iowa or inner city neighborhoods in New York, Opportunity Zones have been a unifying message for both Republicans and Democrats,” said Sen. Scott. “It’s imperative that we create reporting requirements to allow us to accurately measure the success of the initiative and I am happy to help introduce this bill today.”
According to a draft version, the bill would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to collect information on investments held by qualified Opportunity Funds (QOFs), including:
- The number of QOFs;
- The amount of assets held in QOFs;
- The composition of QOF investments by asset class;
- The percentage of designated Opportunity Zones that receive QOF investments; and
- The impacts and outcomes of zone designation on economic indicators including job creation, poverty reduction, new business starts, and other metrics as determined by the Treasury Secretary.
The bill would require the Treasury Secretary to submit a report to Congress, including the above information, beginning five years after the bill’s enactment and annually thereafter.
The Treasury Secretary would also be required to collect information at the investment-level:
- The total amount and date of an investment;
- The type of investment–such as whether it’s in an existing business, new business, or real estate;
- The location of a business or real estate investment;
- The type of activity being supported by the investment–such as whether a real estate investment is for a single-family or multifamily residential property or commercial property, or what economic sector a business investment is supporting;
- In the case of a business investment, the approximate number of full-time employees at the time the investment was made; and
- In the case of a real estate investment, the approximate total square footage and approximate number of residential units.
The bill would require the Secretary to make the above information publicly available no later than one year after the enactment of the bill, and annually thereafter as the data is reported by any QOF. The bill would also require the Treasury to establish appropriate procedures and measures to ensure that the data collection and reporting isn’t duplicative or redundant, and that any personally identifiable data is properly protected and not publicly released.
The reporting requirements were included in the original Investing in Opportunity Act but were removed from the final measure that passed Congress in December 2017. “By establishing reporting requirements for Opportunity Zones, this bipartisan legislation will provide needed oversight and help better measure the impact Opportunity Zone investments are having on job creation, poverty reduction, and support for new businesses,” added Sen. Hassan.
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced similar legislation in the House (H.R.2593), which was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.