Opportunity Zones Resource Center

Below is a list of various resources on Opportunity Zones. 

This is a working list. If you have any additions, please email your suggestions to our research analyst Kasia Tarczynska: kasia@goodjobsfirst.org

 

Laws, Regulations and Federal Webpages

Text of Opportunity Zone Law

Legislative History: (including names of 81 co-sponsors)

US Treasury: Resources Page (includes list and maps of Opportunity Zones by state)

IRS draft tax Form 8996 for Opportunity Zone investors, released October 31, 2019. For a good overview of the draft form, see: Lydia O’Neal, “IRS Opportunity Zone Form Doesn’t Quell Transparency Concerns,” Bloomberg Tax, October 31, 2019.

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access hold a hearing on October 17, 2019 titled “Can Opportunity Zones Address Concerns in the Small Business Economy?” Click here to watch.

A general resource and promotional webpage launched by the White House.

 

Reform Bills

In a bipartisan effort, Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) introduced a bill (May 8, 2019) to improve transparency of Opportunity Zones. If enacted, the Department of the Treasury would collect data and report to Congress on investments held by qualified opportunity funds; some of the data would be made public.

On November 4, 2019 four Senate Finance Committee members asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the program “to review its effectiveness in spurring investment in low-income areas compared to other federal incentives, zone designations and program compliance.”

A bill (text, summary) introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) on November 6, 2019 would prohibit investment in stadiums, luxury condominiums, projects that were already in the worker when OZs were created, among others; the bill would also terminate zones that are not truly low-income. 

On November 7, 2019 Representative Jim Clyburn (D-SC) introduced a House counterpart bill to the Wyden’s bill introduced in Senate the day before. 

On November 22, 2019 Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) introduced a bill that would repeal Opportunity Zones.

 

General Resource Pages on OZ

Council of Development Finance Agencies, a trade association of public and private community finance organizations, has a resource page with a mapping tool, rules and regulation, newsletter, fee-based training courses, etc.

Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is the Sean Parker-funded think tank which promotes OZs, having won the inclusion of OZs in the Trump tax bill. The group hosts interactive maps showing investments, funds and initiatives in the Zones (it seems, however, that the maps are not comprehensive).

Enterprise Community Partners, an affordable housing organization, has a program page with mapping tools, webinars, community impact tools, and anti-displacement policy proposals.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national community development organization with local offices across the country, offers a page with Opportunity Zone FAQs, resource pages for community partners, investors and affordable housing developers:

Novogradac is a for-profit consulting company working with OZ investors. Its Opportunity Zone page includes registered OZ Funds, news, blog posts, mapping tools, information on state rules associated with federal OZs including state corporate and personal income tax conformity with the federal rules; and which states have created additional state OZ subsidies.

Urban Institute Resource Page, among reports and blog posts, includes downloadable OZ tract-level data and state-by-state analyses of the data.

 

Research, Blogs and Writings

A blog by Stan Veuger, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, critiques OZs from a free market perspective: “4 reasons to be skeptical of tax incentives for ‘Opportunity Zones’” (December 2018).

Brookings Institution, “Learning from Opportunity Zones: How to improve place-based policies” (October 2018) includes a list of college towns with Opportunity Zones. This is a recurring issue because college towns look artificially “poor” because most of their residents are jobless students.

California Budget and Policy Center, “The Federal Opportunity Zones Program and Its Implications for California Communities,” April 2019.

Citizens Budget Commission, “Opportunity Zones In New York State and City,” August 2019. In-depth assessment of Opportunity Zones in New York state and NYC.

Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy takes a close look at the program in its “How Opportunity Zones Benefit Investors and Promote Displacement” blog from August 2018:

In his blog (April 2019), Michael Mazerov at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues that “states should decouple their income taxes from federal Opportunity Zone tax breaks asap”.   

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition finds that “69% of neighborhoods that gentrified between 2000 and 2017 are either an Opportunity Zone or they are adjacent to one.” A mapping tool allows the viewer to easily see the location of gentrified Opportunity Zones

Gentrification is also a subject of RCLCO’s analysis of OZ tracks “Building Opportunity: Mapping Gentrification and Investment Across Opportunity Zones” (January 29, 2019) and a topic of a blog “Opportunity Zones: Gentrification on Steroids?” by William Fulton at Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University (February 20, 2019).

A closer look at and evaluation of Opportunity Zones in North Carolina. North Carolina Justice Center, “Harnessing the Capital From Opportunity Zones Toward Equitable Development Goals,” November 2018.

In its blog “These 18 NFL stadium neighborhoods are eligible for the Opportunity Zones tax break,” (February 2019) OpportunityDb, a consulting investment firm, puts together a list of NFL stadiums that are within Opportunity Zones.

Oregon Center on Public Policy prepared a blog (April 2019) and a testimony (March 2019) on the program.

Author Pat Garafalo found that 52 pro sports stadiums are within and thus can benefit from Opportunity Zone tax breaks. The blog (October 2019) includes the list of stadiums.

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, “Opportunity Zones May Create More Opportunities for Investors and Syndicators Than Distressed Communities” (August 2018).

In its report (also includes a link to a webinar) “Displacement Zones: How Opportunity Zones Turn Communities into Tax Shelters for the Rich” from November 2019 Saje, a non-profit organization in South Los Angeles, shows how OZs “allow wealthy investors to benefit from huge tax breaks while they speculate at the expense of the most vulnerable communities.”

 

Foundation Expertise

Council on Foundations: “Opportunity Zones – A Value to Your Community?” 

Kresge Foundation: LOI Request Brief

Rockefeller Foundation: Statement of Interest in OZs

U.S. Impact Investing Alliance: Comments on OZ issues

 

Exceptional Journalism

Articles by Oscar Perry Abello at Next City:

Articles by Lydia O'Neal in Bloomberg Tax

Back Story on OZs’ GenesisSteven Bertoni, “An Unlikely Group of Billionaires And Politicians Has Created The Most Unbelievable Tax Break Ever,” Forbes, July 18, 2018.

Lydia DePillis, “A 'mind boggling' tax break was meant to help the poor. But trendy areas are winning too,” CNN Business, June 14, 2019.

Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliott, “One Trump Tax Cut Was Meant to Help the Poor. A Billionaire Ended Up Winning Big.” ProPublica/The Baltimore Sun, June 19, 2019. The article revealed that Port Covington, a massive redevelopment project in Baltimore, was designated as an OZ because of a mapping error and political influence.

Kevin Rector and Christine Condon, “Trump points to Opportunity Zones to argue he’s helped cities like Baltimore. Are they making a difference?” The Baltimore Sun, August 07, 2019. 

Jesse Drucker and Eric Lipton, “How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich,” New York Times, August 31, 2019.

Sophie Quinton, “Luxury Apartments Get the Tax Breaks Meant to Boost Low-Income Areas,” Stateline, September 25, 2019.

Jeff Ernsthausen and Justin Elliott, “How a Tax Break to Help the Poor Went to NBA Owner Dan Gilbert,” ProPublica, October 24, 2019.

Eric Lipton and Jesse Drucker, “Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas,” New York Times, October 26, 2019.

Megan Luther and Lee Zurik, “Missed Opportunity: Federal initiative meant to help poor neighborhoods benefits the rich,” nbc15.com (Gray TV network), November 04, 2019 (make sure to watch the video).

Justin Elliott, Jeff Ernsthausen and Kyle Edwards, “A Trump Tax Break To Help The Poor Went To a Rich GOP Donor’s Superyacht Marina,” ProPublica, November 14, 2019.

Noah Buhayar, “Trump Tax Break’s Hidden Frenzy: Corporate Giants are Rushing In.” Bloomberg, December 12, 2019.