Opportunity zone criticism growing in nation’s capital

    Lawmakers are increasing their criticism of the ‘Opportunity Zone’ tax break, the New York Times reports, with congressional Democrats calling for investigations and legislative fixes to the federal tax incentive program, which is supposed to encourage investors to pump money into the nation’s poorest neighborhoods.

    The backlash comes in the wake of Times reporting that detailed how wealthy investors and real estate developers—including those with ties to the Trump administration—are poised to profit on the initiative. The Times reported how tax-advantaged money was beginning to flow to development projects that were underway in affluent neighborhoods even before the incentive was enacted in 2017.

    One U.S. senator says he’s introducing legislation this week that would eliminate hundreds of opportunity zones in relatively wealthy neighborhoods. Other lawmakers have written letters to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and called for investigations by the Treasury Department’s inspector general and the Government Accountability Office.

    The greater Baton Rouge area is home to 29 federally designated opportunity zones. It’s unclear whether any of them would be impacted by the pending legislation. Read the full story.

    To read a Business Report story on how the opportunity zone program is faring in Baton Rouge, click here.

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