NEW: Sen Cory Booker, Rep Emanuel Cleaver & Rep Ron Kind-key Dems in Opportunity Zone effort-call today for Treasury Inspector General to investigate potential political influence in selection of areas that benefit from tax break, citing NYT & ProPublica reporting. @JesseDrucker pic.twitter.com/xHMB4NXh3l— Eric Lipton (@EricLiptonNYT) October 31, 2019
While the Treasury Department took one step towards putting in place important transparency measures for Opportunity Zones today, in order for the tax incentive to truly fulfill the type of economic development intended from the original legislation, these oversight requirements must be much more comprehensive and the Administration has a long way to go. For starters, this information needs to be public, not available only to the Treasury Department. Additionally, there needs to be transaction-level reporting so that we can properly evaluate the impact of the program and ensure that investments are being effectively allocated to low-income communities. The Opportunity Zone incentive has the potential to unleash much-needed economic boosts to distressed communities across the country – communities that are too often overlooked by investors – but without robust guardrails in place, it has the potential to be undermined or abused by unscrupulous actors who aren’t committed to the intent of the legislation to help rural and urban communities across the country.Following ProPublica's initial allegation, Jared Fleisher, the vice president of government affairs and economic development for Gilbert's Rock Family of Companies, penned an op-ed on cleveland.com calling the story "simply not true."
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