Ron DeSantis highlights ‘opportunity zones’ on Space Coast

Comments in wake of forum in Melbourne.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and various state officials highlighted the impact of “opportunity zones” on the Space Coast.

On Tuesday after a forum event, DeSantis “announced his commitment to working with the Trump administration to further promote opportunity zones in the Melbourne area.”

The location was purposeful.

 “With the fast growth of the commercial space industry,” DeSantis said, “we are witnessing the beginning of an exciting renaissance in Florida’s Space Coast, and opportunity zones are poised to play a big role in the region’s future success.”

“I look forward to working with the Trump administration to promote investment in opportunity zones here and throughout the state to create more opportunities for Floridians,” the Governor added.

Opportunity zones, a federal policy innovation of the last couple of years, offer tax breaks for development in low-income areas.

DeSantis’ predecessor, Gov. Rick Scott, suggested 427 of them in his second term, 72 of them in Central Florida.

The timing of the Melbourne event was interesting, with criticism and scrutiny mounting over the areas. Congressional Democrats, including Florida delegation members, are agitating for change in the program, which seems to benefit big developers more than intended.

Other state leaders, perhaps unsurprisingly, concurred that opportunity zones are a good thing.

“Opportunity Zones are a great solution to help drive robust growth to economically distressed areas,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. “The program provides the tools to leverage private sector financial investments and is a win-win for a region’s economic development and its residents.”

Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello said the “Opportunity Zone Forum [is] a way to help further economic and community development in distressed and disadvantaged communities.”

Enterprise Florida President Jamal Sowell noted that Florida is “perfectly positioned … to facilitate Opportunity Zone investment,”

“At Enterprise Florida, we are gearing our efforts toward putting resources in front of investors, and helping communities position their Opportunity Zone assets,” Sowell added.

Enterprise Florida now has a website to promote investments in Opportunity Zones, and the Governor’s $91.3 billion budget proposal includes $250,000 to market these areas to potential investors.

Staff Reports


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