Seven counties in west central IL getting Opportunity Zones

By Blake Schnitker on May 22 at 12:20pm

Seven out of nine counties in Illinois’ 100th House District have been approved for Opportunity Zones through the federal government.

Jacksonville-based State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer’s office is announcing the approval of these zones that create opportunities for tax-free investments that could lead to the creation of new jobs throughout west central Illinois. Among the seven counties in our area to receive Opportunity Zones are: Morgan, Greene, Pike, Sangamon, Macoupin, Madison and Jersey Counties. For those who might be unfamiliar with exactly what an Opportunity Zone is, Davidsmeyer provides a breakdown of how they function, and the benefits they create for communities in west central Illinois.

“Basically, the Opportunity Zones were created by the new federal tax plan from the federal government, and what it’s trying to do is leverage capital gains. So if somebody has investments in the stock market, or say they bought a house for $100,000 and it’s now worth $125,000, if they sell it, they have an extra $25,000 that they’d have to pay capital gains tax on. Or they could put it into an Opportunity Zone and not have to pay taxes on it, but basically the funds can be used to create new jobs and new businesses,” says Davidsmeyer.

Davidsmeyer goes over the various criteria by which Opportunity Zones are judged.

“I believe they were based on areas that have high unemployment or high poverty rates, so you’re looking at both large urban areas, and you’re also looking at extremely rural areas like our district. It really opened it up for a very diverse state like Illinois, and it had to be spread fairly evenly throughout the state, so it couldn’t just be in one area. You’ll notice if you look at the map, they’re placed throughout the state of Illinois,” explains Davidsmeyer.

Davidsmeyer also explains how these new Opportunity Zones will help bring new jobs to west central Illinois.

“I think everybody understands that the state is, for lack of better terms, broke. So trying to find funds to invest as far as tax dollars to help create opportunities for businesses is a little tougher right now, so this is a great opportunity for individuals, private citizens, to put their money in and allow their money to work to better our communities,” Davidsmeyer says.

In terms of the Opportunity Zone coming to Morgan County, or Jacksonville more specifically, it will cover an area south of Morton Avenue to Michigan Avenue, and stretch west to east from approximately Massey Lane all the way out, expanding until it reaches the incoming Enterprise Zone on the eastern part of town near the Jacksonville Country Club.