Springfield hopes to benefit from new federal tax laws

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Springfield is priming itself for financial investors who are looking to take advantage of new federal tax laws.

The federal tax bill that was signed into law in December includes a plan to boost investment in what are known as economically distressed communities across the country. Springfield qualifies as one.

But, in order to lure investors you have show them they can make a return on their investment.

City leaders have selected three areas to show that Springfield is looking towards the future.

"There's some really interesting research on how it could really incentivize investment in these distressed communities, which Springfield qualifies as one," said Springfield Economic Development Director, Sarah Kerner.

She explained that investors would get more than just cuts and deferments for taking stock in our community.

"The reduction grows the longer the investment is made in an opportunity zone. Five and seven years are kind of the magic numbers as far as that goes. If they keep an investment for 10 years or more then any money that they make on that new investment, so say if they invest somewhere in Springfield and actually make additional money there is no tax on that gain," explained Kerner.

The program's criteria for zone selection is very broad.

"This is a really flexible tool which is great because it gives us a lot of options but it's also challenging to narrow down where is the best part of town to identify as an opportunity zone," she said.

The city picked areas that could benefit the most from investment dollars, including the area around Bass Pro Shops on Campbell Avenue.

North Springfield, from the Springfield-Branson Airport, across Kearney Street, all the way to the old downtown airport is the second area on the list.

The third location includes the city center, downtown, IDEA Commons and Commercial Street.

Kerner said, "Knowing that only 25 percent of the areas can be designated as opportunity zones we wanted to pick the areas that met the criteria that investors would be looking for when they're using the program."

She believes Springfield's chances to lure investors is great.

"The legislators seem very positive about the potential so we are too," she said.

The city has until March 2 to get their bid in to Missouri's Economic Development Office.

A decision on who qualifies for the program will be made by the end of April.