The only Black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott, is doing his best to convince people Opportunity Zones will benefit low income communities. Many people disagree, include House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
Clyburn released a statement about Opportunity Zones, which read in part, “From the start, I’ve raised concerns that the Opportunity Zone incentive would turn out to be a tax credit for rich investors with limited benefits for low-income communities. This program needs to be tweaked if it is to accomplish its stated purpose, and this legislation makes the necessary reforms to ensure it is making an impact in the communities that need investments the most.”
Clyburn wants to prohibit investments developments “such as casinos, stadiums, parking lots or luxury apartments and ensure the incentives only go to new investments within the zones, not projects that were already underway,” according to Post and Courier. Clybrun is clearly trying to prevent Opportunity Zones from creating more gentrification.
Sen. Tim Scott is having a temper tantrum that rich people aren’t getting their way. He whined that any changes is “misguided attempt by Congressional Democrats” that would “wreck the Opportunity Zone initiative under the guise of ‘improvement.’” He also claims Democrats “needlessly punish low-income communities who are hoping to use Opportunity Zones to transform areas left behind.”
This is the same man who praised Trump’s tax bill — with Ivanka Trump by his side — that only hurt low-income communities.
Opportunity Zones is a supposed plan to revitalize urban neighborhoods. The program has designated more than 8,000 census tracts across the U.S. as “distressed,” RealDeal.com explains. Nonetheless, there are already signs this will only be a bonanza for the wealthy by allowing real estate developers to push out poor people. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reports, “This program runs a high risk of displacing low-income people living in communities from which government has historically and systemically disinvested. Low-income communities targeted by Opportunity Zones are overwhelmingly Black.”
Areas for these so-called Opportunity Zones are “63 percent Black and only 28 percent white.”
The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy clearly “Opportunity Zones incent gentrification. Low-income communities can be defined by a comparison of income to the surrounding area and Opportunity Zones can also qualify if they are adjacent to a low-income community. Thus, Opportunities Zones are in communities already vulnerable to gentrification. The program lacks adequate protections to ensure capital investors do not push out current residents or businesses.”
Sounds like Tim Scott needs to do some soul-searching and listen to the fair critiques of his proposal.