Gulf Opportunity Zone: States Are Allocating Federal Tax Incentives to Finance Low-Income Housing and a Wide Range of Private Facilities

GAO-08-913 Published: Jul 16, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2008.
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In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma devastated the Gulf Coast, destroying wide swaths of housing, key infrastructure, and numerous private businesses. In response, Congress granted the states a wide range of disaster relief, including billions of dollars of grants and tax incentives to revitalize the Gulf Coast. Specifically, the Gulf Opportunity (GO) Zone Act of 2005 (Pub. L. No. 109-135) provided tax incentives to individuals and businesses in certain presidentially declared disaster areas. Congress mandated that GAO review how state and local governments allocated and used federal tax incentives in the act and subsequent legislation. This report (1) identifies tax incentives in the GO Zone Act of 2005 and subsequent legislation for which state and local governments have allocation and oversight responsibilities, (2) describes the procedures state governments use in allocating the tax incentives, including how they plan to monitor compliance with federal laws, and (3) describes how tax incentives have been allocated and for what purposes. To address these objectives, GAO analyzed key documentation from GO Zone states and interviewed state officials, selected local officials, and representatives from private and nonprofit entities.

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