Guam may be able to cash in on Trump's "opportunity zones" - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam may be able to cash in on Trump's "opportunity zones"

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Could Guam cash in estimated $6.1 trillion in capital gains that's sitting on the sidelines nationwide? A new program in the Trump tax reforms creates "opportunity zones" that allow communities across the country, including Guam, to tap into the money through tax-attractive investments in economically-distressed areas.

Local governments, including Governor Eddie Calvo, have identified more than 8,000 low income areas for the opportunity zones. Investors can build a wide range of projects in the zones, and in turn will receive tax breaks on their capital gains. The longer they maintain the investment, the bigger the credits.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lou Leon Guerrero invited tax expert Brent Parker, whose firm is helping with other projects in the mainland, to come here and talk up the zones. "Unlike other community development programs like low-income housing, where there's sort of maximum amount that you can do, in this program there's no maximum, there's no minimum. Investments can vary widely, so that's a big tool. So it's really designed to capture as much of that $6.1 trillion as possible," he explained.

He says it has the potential to become the largest economic development tool ever. But the key is marketing, letting off-island and local investors with U.S. capital gains know that opportunities exist here. "The great thing about Guam, number one, is that you have a lot of zones in populated places and there's a lot of opportunity for development," said Parker. "So I think if you can get that word out there to investors and syndicators there should be interest. Also, you have conformity between your state tax law and federal law. Which is a big aspect."

Leon Guerrero says the opportunity zones are part of her campaign economic platform that she intends to push should she win Adelup, noting, "We certainly will work with GEDA, the Guam Economic Development Agency, because I think that's where we can put this kind of program together through GEDA where they can get investors to come in. and even these investors can get together and form their opportunity funds."

She says some specific industries she would target are agriculture, aquaculture and telecommunications.

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