Critics of the program say the regulations put in place by Mr Trump’s Treasury Department to clarify what kind of investments are eligible for the special tax treatment likely didn’t invest much in the kinds of projects that would help people and Bringing communities into trouble B. New businesses that would create jobs in areas with persistently high unemployment. Critics say evidence suggests the zones could reward wealthy investors for projects that would have been possible without tax breaks. This includes a sawmill in Mississippi that Mr. Trump put in the spotlight in 2019 and that a new owner wanted to buy before state officials decided to designate an area, including the mill, as an opportunity zone.
“It’s hard to see if people with low and middle incomes benefit from this incentive,” said Brett Theodos, director of the Community Development Economic Hub at the Urban Institute in Washington. “The Biden government could now initiate reforms and make this program work much better for the communities.”
During his presidential campaign, Mr Biden pledged to improve the zones and saw this as a way to achieve more economic justice. One of his promises was to require detailed disclosure from investors in the zones in order to better track their impact on the distressed communities they are supposed to help.
“We cannot close the racist prosperity gap if we allow billionaires to use tax breaks in opportunity zones to replenish their wealth,” said his campaign under the Build Back Better agenda, “instead of investing in projects that benefit poor, low-income communities come.” Americans struggling to make ends meet. “
The Treasury Department has already issued an ordinance regulating the zones, and others are in preparation. Even so, the program hasn’t made it high on the president’s tax agenda, government officials say, given the other priorities the White House is trying to get through Congress, including a $ 2.3 trillion infrastructure package.
Mr Biden’s economic team did not delve deep into a bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill about applying new rules as to which projects are eligible for the zone-related tax breaks or whether some wealthier communities should be granted opportunity status. Zone should be withdrawn. However, administrative officials are aware of the new study and are concerned about its conclusions. They are particularly interested – as Mr Biden promised in the campaign – in efforts to increase transparency and affordable housing investments in the zones.
In many cases, the government’s plans align with the demands of critics and supporters. In other cases, the sides disagree. Mr Theodos is urging the administration to put in place some sort of government certification process for investments in the zones, which essentially requires officials to sign projects that deserve the tax breaks. Mr Lettieri said such a requirement would cripple the program.