Growing support among the states for “opportunity zones” to boost lagging economies; proposal remains alive in Olympia.

Governing magazine reports that states across the country are promoting “opportunity zones” to boost economic development in struggling local and regional economies. 

This year 17 state legislatures have considered opportunity zone bills, including proposals for additional tax breaks to lure investors or encourage certain projects, such as affordable housing or solar energy development, according to Novogradac & Co. LLC, an accounting and consulting firm that is keeping track.

The magazine cites legislation moving in Olympia.

Washington state Rep. Mike Chapman also is interested in offering state tax credits to opportunity zone investors who can create jobs in economically depressed rural areas.

“We don’t have a lack of construction work in this state, so it’s not like we need to build more buildings,” the Democrat said. “We need jobs in rural counties that are living wage jobs where people can consistently receive a paycheck.”

Rep. Chapman sponsored HB 1324, which continues to be alive in Olympia, having passed the House 97 – 0 , with one excused.

The Association of Washington Business has been active in support of opportunity zones and rural economic development. Here’s AWB’s video overview of the measure.