The Opportunity Zone tax break is likely to exacerbate the affordable housing crisis and displace residents of color and lower-income residents while rewarding rich real estate investors with a lucrative tax break, according to a new report by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Institute, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, Kansas City Tenants, and New York Communities for Change.
The Opportunity Zone (O-Zone) tax break was created by the 2017 Republican tax cut legislation. It was promoted as a way to incentivize investment in economically disadvantaged areas but it is marred by poor design and flawed implementation so that it will most likely provide tax breaks for investments in already booming cities and gentrifying neighborhoods. The program incentivizes investments that aim to maximize returns in lower-income areas where residents are vulnerable to economic displacement pressures.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) introduced groundbreaking and essential legislation to repeal the deeply flawed Opportunity Zone tax break passed as part of the 2017 tax cut legislation. In addition to the basic problems with this tax break for the wealthy, multiple media exposés have already found that the rules have been bent to include parcels that benefitted high-rolling real estate investors, including those with ties to the Trump administration.