Does Boulder really understand what the euphemistically-called “opportunity zone” program is all about?
It’s a Trump-era tax avoidance scheme for wealthy investors who pay zero capital gains taxes if they hold money in an opportunity zone fund for 10 years. That’s right. Zero taxes. With this unprecedented chance to totally avoid taxes, opportunity zone investors naturally seek the highest-margin projects possible. They won’t seek affordable housing projects — not unless they’re directed to through guidelines such as those that Boulder’s City Council is formulating.
Although the stated purpose of opportunity zones is to help “economically disadvantaged” areas, it’s hard to say that with a straight face: Jared Kushner used opportunity zone funds to purchase a $13 million luxury beachfront property on the Jersey Shore. Charleston, S.C.,’s opportunity zone is some of the hottest real estate on the Charleston peninsula — loaded with luxury hotels and apartment buildings, high-end restaurants and bars.
How? One of many opportunity zone loopholes is that the opportunity zone need only be contiguous to a disadvantaged area. So, opportunity zone designations can go to wealthy zones next to the ones actually needing help. (Research this, it’s true.) A CityLab article stated, “… it could pour gasoline on markets that are already white hot.” Does Boulder need more “gasoline,” at the expense of communities that actually do?
Accordingly, many affordable housing advocacy groups and community foundations across America question the sincerity of Trump’s tax scam, asking, “Opportunity … for whom?” Boulder’s City Council prudently, temporarily paused development in our opportunity zone — only 10 percent of Boulder — until it can formulate guidelines to firmly direct development toward things Boulder actually needs (affordable housing, community-serving retail, etc.). What’s surprising is how Boulder’s Chamber of Commerce and Better Boulder have pushed back on this, advocating instead for no additional oversight on Trump’s millionaire/billionaire tax scam.
Originally Published on December 27, 2018 at 08:15PM
Article published originally via “opportunity zones” – Google News http://www.dailycamera.com/letters/ci_32353070/stacey-goldfarb-opportunity-zone-trump-era-tax-scam