The federal government has certified the 150 census tracts nominated by Gov. John Bel Edwards as Opportunity Zones, which will offer tax incentives through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designed to attract investment in low-income areas. 

The state earlier this year sought input from community groups, elected officials and others for which census tracts to nominate. Edwards made the nominations in April. The U.S. Treasury Department certified all of the census tracts nominated by the governor. 

The census tracts represent 25 percent of Louisiana's low-income census tracts, the maximum allowed under the program, and include areas of north Baton Rouge and several tracts in the New Orleans and Lafayette regions. The Opportunity Zone program offers investors deferred and lowered capital gains taxes on property. 

“We’re pleased that all 150 census tracts we nominated are now qualified as Opportunity Zones,” Edwards said in a statement. “This federal certification means we have new tools at our disposal to bring much-needed investment and new jobs to the areas of Louisiana who most need them. Through a collaboration of private investors, state agencies and local communities, we can work hand-in-hand to ensure that new opportunities for growth are created in Louisiana through this program.”