Shrinking Opportunity Zones
Tucked into the Trump 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Opportunity Zones (OZs) are small geographic areas where individuals and corporations can get large capital-gains tax breaks for investing. The goal behind OZs was supposedly to stimulate reinvestment in economically depressed areas, and thus, by implication, to improve the lives of low-income residents in these historically excluded communities.
The lack of transparency and accountability around OZs—including who is investing in them, how much they are receiving in tax breaks, how much states are passively losing, and whether the funds benefit Zone residents or displace them—is profoundly troubling. Our work on OZs promotes sunshine on the program, providing investigative resources for journalists and the concerned public.
If this program can’t be repealed, we hope it will be revamped to include robust disclosure of costs and benefits, the identities of the individuals and companies benefitting from the program, and requirements to hire locally, pay living wages, add affordable housing units and other Community Benefits.