The opportunity zone program allows investors to defer paying federal taxes on the capital gains they make from selling assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate for up to 10 years, provided that they deposit the money into a specially designated opportunity fund. The money in the opportunity fund is then used to invest in small businesses and development projects in the opportunity zone areas.
Rutherford chairs the Maryland Opportunity Zone Leadership Task Force, which includes the secretaries of the state’s housing, commerce, labor, planning, transportation and human services departments, among others. Indian Head Mayor Brandon Paulin made the opening remarks before turning it over to Rutherford, who explained that the purpose of the regional meetings was to gather information from local stakeholders to help them craft a statewide opportunity zone plan, which is scheduled for completion later this year.
Sen. Arthur Ellis opened the public remarks by asking Rutherford to pledge to make state funds for opportunity zones available statewide, which Rutherford pointed out that they already were. Del. C.T. Wilson urged Rutherford to involve the governor’s Office of Minority Business in the opportunity zone program and to invest in infrastructure improvements on Route 210 because the road is a “Straight shot” from Washington, D.C., to Naval Support Facility Indian Head. Rutherford explained that minority and women owned businesses seeking to be prime contractors on state projects would be better off registering with the state’s Small Business Reserve Program rather than the Minority Business Enterprise program because the former is for prime contracting companies, and the latter is focused on companies that provide subcontracting.
Rutherford told the Maryland Independent that he believes Charles County is well positioned to benefit from opportunity zone investment, particularly Indian Head. NSF Indian Head “Becomes essentially an anchor institution that attracts businesses that do business with the base, and even further down, going down to ,” Rutherford said.