Democratic Lawmakers & Worries About OZ’s Impacts on Low-Income Residents

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Posted on 5/7/2019 10:22:19 AM

Although dated, the attached letter is a good one to follow the who's who among lawmakers that are weighing in on OZ.

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Democratic Lawmakers Express Worries About OZ’s Impacts on Low-Income Residents
In letters sent to the Treasury, IRS and the Office of Management and Budget, 11 members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed concerns that, without the proper safeguards, the federal opportunity zones program could lead to rapid gentrification and hurt low-income residents.

The letter expresses many of the reservations some Democratic lawmakers have raised about the program, which was originated as a bipartisan effort between Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C. The original bill had certain data tracking requirements that were not included in the final legislation, but Booker and Scott are planning to reintroduce them in a standalone bill.

The lawmakers responsible for the letter asked the agencies what they intend to do to prevent gentrification and ensure positive economic outcomes for residents in opportunity zones, whether there would be tenant affordability requirements placed on real estate investments funded by qualified opportunity funds and if there would be oversight to ensure prevention of corruption and overinvestment in already-thriving areas. Additionally, they expressed concern surrounding anti-abuse provisions and questioned how investors would be prevented from using opportunity zones as a tax haven.

While there is a lot of enthusiasm around the intended benefits of the opportunity zone program, the letter shows potential problems the initiative could face in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.

Attachment: OZ_Letter.pdf (343.0 KB)