Another View — Tim Scott and Chris Sununu: Innovative state and federal ideas are expanding opportunity

The passage of comprehensive tax reform at the end of last year brought great news for families across New Hampshire and the nation as a whole. It doubled the standard deduction, used by more than 63 percent of Granite Staters, as well as the child tax credit, and slashed taxes for a typical family of four by nearly $2,000 a year. Through these pro-growth initiatives, Republicans have fulfilled a commitment they made to the people of New Hampshire, providing tax relief that boosts our economy and returns money to everyone’s pocket.

The tax bill also contained a provision championed by Sen. Scott that, when paired with Gov. Sununu’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative, will help create new opportunities for those on the pathway to recovery to get back on their feet, find work and build a new life.

There are more than $3 trillion in unrealized capital gains, or dollars earned when selling an asset or property, across the United States. The Opportunity Zone Program, inserted into the tax bill by Sen. Scott, offers a tax break on these dollars to investors who make long-term investments in low-income neighborhoods. This is a concerted effort to ensure neighborhoods are being built up from their foundation, as opposed to efforts more closely resembling “flipping” a house for profit.

Opportunity Zones were created by federal legislation but are truly led at the local and state level. This means states can tailor the initiative to their unique needs and goals, free from Washington’s infamous bureaucracy and red tape. Last month, Gov. Sununu nominated 27 low-income neighborhoods across the state as Opportunity Zones. These New Hampshire communities deserve an economic boost, and that is what we are going to give them. The goal is simple: to create jobs, to increase wages, and to revitalize neighborhoods across the state.

The potential dollars coming to these communities can fund any number of things, from small businesses and entrepreneurs to affordable housing and educational foundations. They have the potential to transform the future, creating new jobs and better opportunities for families throughout the state.

As we continue to battle the opioid epidemic, one of the barriers we know is hardest for those recovering from addiction is getting back to work. New Hampshire’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative, established earlier this year by Gov. Sununu, empowers workplaces to provide support for people in recovery while changing the culture around addiction by engaging employers in being a proactive part of the conversation by providing tools, resources, and opening up access to treatment.

As the Opportunity Zone Program ramps up, with new businesses and jobs being created, that means more chances for those recovering to find work. It also means the Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative will continue to grow, providing these hardworking men and women looking to get back on their feet with a solid foundation and workplaces that understand the challenges they are facing.

By facing two incredibly important issues head on — helping those in need and fighting the opioid epidemic — we recognize that there is no silver bullet. We need our states to work together, our families to work together, and programs like these to help put the pieces of the puzzle together.

As part of Sen. Scott’s National Opportunity Tour, today we are visiting with Spectrum Marketing Inc., a business in Manchester already participating in Gov. Sununu’s Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative.

Spectrum could very well see an increase in business from growth created by the Opportunity Zone Program across the Merrimack River in the Manchester Millyard.

The old saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and that is certainly our hope for these two initiatives working in tandem at companies like Spectrum to help create a brighter future for so many families across the Granite State and America as a whole.

Tim Scott is a U.S. senator representing South Carolina. Chris Sununu is governor of New Hampshire.