Pinnell To Hit The Road With Zones, Calls On Angels

By By Richard Mize, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell said he and state economic development officials will promote the new federal Opportunity Zones on the road later this year to help make sure all 117 of Oklahoma’s zones attract investors.

A series of “mini summits,” patterned after similar outreach in Colorado and Maryland, will get the word out about the zones, created in 2017 by the tax reform law but still relatively unknown outside of investment circles, he said. “This is a big deal, particularly on the real estate side,” Pinnell said Thursday at the annual Economic Preview presented by the Edmond Economic Development Authority and sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.

The zones are intended for investors and companies already invested in commercial property. The law allows them to defer and reduce capital gains taxes by plunging gains back into development, via an Opportunity Fund, within 180 days.

Opportunity investors can defer capital gains taxes until Dec. 31, 2026, reduce the tax payment up to 15 percent and pay zero taxes on profits for investments held for 10 years.

Pinnell said details on the mini summits were still being worked out, but he talked about things he is emphasizing as lieutenant governor, Gov. Kevin Stitt’s secretary of tourism and branding, and in his role as member of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce executive committee.

–Entrepreneurism and small-business promotion more than pays for itself, Pinnell said, but to keep up with other states, Oklahoma will have to step up by cultivating an environment that attracts more angel investors.

Oklahoma needs more angel investors, he said, meaning those providing start-up capital in return for stock or equity, and business accelerators, organized versions of angel investment that provide training, mentorship, capital and investment in return for startup equity.

–Agritourism has been undersold, he said, and the state needs to take fuller advantage of people’s desire to get away to places with authentic “small-town charm.”

Oklahoma is loaded with them, he said. He pointed to Pawhuska and its “30 new businesses” resulting from “one idea” — Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

–Route 66 is another tourism resource that hasn’t been emphasized enough, he said.

“It’s a gold mine. It is the most famous road in the world, and we have more miles of it than any other state,” he said of the historic Mother Road.

(Not when U.S. 66 was first designated in 1926. But Oklahoma, with 404 miles of it, after numerous realignments along the road, did have the longest stretch in the mid-1940s, according to www.historic66.com.)

This article provided by NewsEdge.