On the heels of asking for congressional hearings into a tax break program that may have been misused by wealthy interests, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) has introduced legislation to eliminate it.
H.R. 5252 would repeal controversial opportunity zones from the U.S. tax code. They were created by GOP tax reform bill passed in 2017 and were supposed to encourage new investments into low-income areas.
A ProPublica investigation last month showed that Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert launched a lobbying effort and secured a designation in downtown Detroit for which he didn’t qualify. ProPublica also uncovered similar practices in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Oklahoma.
“The American people have been scammed by Opportunity Zones,” said Tlaib.“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.”
The legislation is endorsed by numerous organizations and community groups including: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Detroit Action, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Organize Florida, The Partnership for Working Families, Action Center for Race and the Economy, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Maryland Communities United, Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, Data For Progress, Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, Arkansas Community Organization, New York Communities for Change, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Hedge Clippers Campaign, Take On Wall St., Churches United for Fair Housing, PolicyLink, Americans for Financial Reform.