Trump’s Opportunity Zone program is under investigation

Designed to help poor communities, the tax break has been a win for the wealthy

New York /
Jan.January 16, 2020 09:33 AM
Donald Trump with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Cory Booker (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Donald Trump with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Cory Booker (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

The Treasury Department is investigating a federal tax break that was designed to help low-income communities, but has proved to be a windfall for the rich.

The inquiry into Trump’s Opportunity Zone program was instigated after three Democratic lawmakers — Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II and Rep. Ron Kind — called for it.

The request followed probes by the New York Times and ProPublica, which raised questions about who was benefiting from the program.

Passed in 2017, the tax break was designed to bolster investment in low-income neighborhoods, helping the economy by bringing businesses and jobs. Investors were able to defer capital gains taxes from selling stocks or other investments as long as they put the money into federally designated Opportunity Zones.

But wealthy developers, some of whom have ties to the administration, have sought to benefit. In some cases, funds eligible for the tax break have gone to luxury projects in affluent areas.

Rich Delmar, the Treasury Department’s deputy inspector general, said in a statement that the department’s internal watchdog expects “to complete our work and respond to the congressional requesters in early spring.”

The inquiry was first reported by NBC. [NYT] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan


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