Detroit Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wants to repeal federal opportunity zones, which she calls a scam.
Opportunity zones were created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage new investments in poor areas by providing tax breaks to investors. But Tlaib says they benefit wealthy developers.
"The American people have been scammed by Opportunity Zones,” said Tlaib in a press release about a bill introdced Friday.
“Opportunity Zones were supposed to help uplift low-income communities and those living in poverty, but instead we are seeing them benefit billionaires and their luxury projects. Our communities deserve resources and programs with proven track records to thrive – the current Opportunity Zone law fails to drive real benefits to low-income communities, instead often rewarding President Trump’s donors.
"We must repeal them to stop yet another form of corporate greed from hurting our communities and tarnishing our democracy.”
Tlaib notes that her proposed legislation comes after investigative journalists found the breaks have been doled out as poltical favors to wealthy developers like Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. Last month, ProPublica published a piece titled "How a Tax Break to Help the Poor Went to NBA Owner Dan Gilbert." A Gilbert spokesman pushed back on the story and denied anything was improper.
Tlaib also wants the House to investigate places that have been designated opportunity zones. .
The Repeal Opportunity Zones Act she pushes would end the Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOF) that the Detroit Democrat says developers "are exploiting to gentrify low- and moderate-income communities for capital gains tax breaks." Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State is a co-sponsor.
“The people who benefit most from President Trump’s Opportunity Zones provision are billionaires like Detroit’s Dan Gilbert,” said Branden Snyder, executive director for Detroit Action, a group "fighting for political power, racial and economic justice for working-class Detroiters." Snyder adds:
“Instead of building the affordable housing that our city -- and our country -- desperately need, the provision is worsening displacement and padding the pockets of billionaires. I applaud Rep. Rashida Tlaib for introducing a repeal to the Opportunity Zone tax break so that we can get to work actually addressing the housing crisis in Detroit and nationwide.”