OKLAHOMA CITY – Native American tribes across the country were left out of a major part of a new federal tax incentive for opportunity zones, with their governments unable to pool investments to support projects in some of the nation’s poorest areas.
Tribal governments can still attract outside investors to their opportunity zones, but a big part of the incentive was the ability to pool outside investors into the qualified opportunity funds that can invest in zones across the country.
“Due to their unique status, if a tribal government cannot create a Qualified Opportunity Fund entity within its jurisdiction, tribes will be unable to participate in creating Opportunity Funds,” the finance association said in its comment letter.
In Oklahoma, 22 tribes have land in designated opportunity zones. The Cherokee Nation is exploring its options on the opportunity zones but did not comment on the opportunity fund issue. “The Cherokee Nation is interested in Opportunity Zone funds since they can be useful in helping tribes attract investments,” Chuck Garrett, Cherokee Nation Businesses executive vice president, said in a statement.
Oklahoma Watch reached out to several other tribes about the opportunity fund oversight but did not receive responses.