John Hope Bryant on “Squawk Box”: How Opportunity Zones can thrive
I appeared on the set of CNBC's "Squawk Box" this morning to talk about opportunity zones. Opportunity Zones were recently created as a way to drive long-term investment in low-income communities. The way it works is two-fold. An investor gets a tax benefit for setting up a Qualified Opportunity Fund and investing in property in a Qualified Opportunity Zone. In return, these investments are meant to help build up the community.
Today on Squawk Box, I joined in on the debate about whether Opportunity Zones will actually help distressed communities, or if it's just another tax break for the wealthy. The other people on the panel were Adam Michel, senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation; Marc Lasry, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Avenue Capital Group; and Alex Rodriguez, founder and CEO of A-Rod Corp.
I think Opportunity Zones are a good thing. The only issue with this legislation is lazy public policy. It starts with building a proper foundation of teaching financial literacy to communities. Then, you can provide financial coaching, just like the work we're doing at Operation HOPE. If it's done this way, it could be a winning policy.
Also, it is possible to do well and do good. There are many investors out there who are looking for ways to make money and show compassion at the same time. This new policy gives them that chance.