By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

Potential tax breaks are encouraging both corporate and private investors to raise tens of billions of dollars this year to invest in distressed rural areas.

President Trump’s 2017 tax package includes these tax breaks for “opportunity zones,” which are designated areas around the country—and largely in rural America—that are struggling economically. How effective the tax package will be to attract investment in these communities remains unclear.

“I don’t think these are going to have the impact that people think they are,” Lawrin Van Keuren, who manages real estate investments for a money management firm in California that has considered investing in opportunity zones told the New York Times. “We are in a wait-and-see mode.”

Some investors hope the funding will address issues like job creation in poor areas, affordable housing and small business development.

“I believe it really can be a great model to demonstrate the holistic, community-informed investments that can transform these distressed communities, while earning returns,” Jim Sorenson, a Utah entrepreneur, told the Times.

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