Sen. Ron Wyden Demands Study on Opportunity Zone Management

November 6, 2019 | Investments, News, Real Estate, Regulations

Several key Democrats have requested study into Opportunity Zone implementation

Opportunity Zones have become topics of interest among institutional investors. The passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act pushed through opportunity zones as potential long-term investments.

However, reports have emerged about potential wrongdoing among Trump administration officials. Now, Democrats are investigating the Opportunity Zone program and adding new bills to bring transparency to the process.

Sen. Ron Wyden on OZ Decisions

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore. released a letter to Steven Mnuchin, the U.S. Treasury Secretary.

He and other Democratic leaders are pushing for greater accountability in the industry. They want to know if the program is achieving the goal of driving investment in low-income areas. It also wants to know how officials designated the regions for tax benefits.

Further, the demands stem from a recent report in the New York Times that suggests favoritism and political pressure in Nevada-based opportunity zones. The Times said that the Storey County received designation despite news that it didn’t meet eligibility under the tax code.

Meanwhile, back in December, NBC News questioned whether the Trump Organization would benefit from the rule changes. Bloomberg also questioned why an affluent area in New Jersey received designation as an Opportunity Zone. The ultimate conclusion at the time is that the designation benefited Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“The Opportunity Zone program has been troubled from the start. The Treasury Department has been steering potentially billions in tax breaks to Donald Trump’s friends, and there are no safeguards to ensure taxpayers are not simply subsidizing handouts for billionaires with no benefit to the low-income communities [that] this program was supposed to help,” Sen. Wyden said in a statement.

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