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Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to students at South Louisiana Community College Friday, August 2, 2019, in Lafayette, La.

An online service that connects investors with Louisiana properties eligible for incentives under the federal Opportunity Zone program has been launched by the state's economic development department.

Opportunity Zones are a community development program established by Congress in 2017 to encourage long-term investments to spur economic development and job creation in low-income communities. The law provides a federal tax incentive for investors to redirect capital gains into specialized funds that are dedicated to investing in designated low-income areas through both business and real estate projects.

A total of 150 census tracts in Louisiana were nominated by the state and certified as Opportunity Zones by the secretary of the U.S. Treasury. They are among about 8,700 census tracts certified as Opportunity Zones in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

Through the new Louisiana Opportunity Zones web portal, at www.LouisianaOpportunityZones.com, local and national investors can explore potential projects in Opportunity Zones throughout the state.

"Our new web portal is a functional tool that can help us secure these new investments," LED Secretary Don Pierson said. "We are working with real estate professionals, bankers, accountants and economic development professionals to build awareness and a better understanding of the Opportunity Zone program."  

This week, LED staged strategy workshops about the federal program in Ruston, Alexandria and Baton Rouge.

“Opportunity Zones have the potential to generate the kind of economic activity that can transform lower-income areas across our state," Gov. John Bel Edwards said in the announcement.

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