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Tell lawmakers: No tax subsidies for wealthy investors

In the years to come, Oregonians will be on the hook for big giveaways to wealthy investors. These tax subsidies go by the name “Opportunity Zones,” even though they actually undermine opportunity for Oregonians.

Tell Oregon lawmakers to rein in this tax scheme by enacting House Bill 4010.

“Opportunity Zones” are tax cuts for capital gains income benefiting investors who park their money in areas designated as “Opportunity Zones.”

It is one of many flawed provisions in the 2017 Trump tax scheme. Because Oregon automatically connects to parts of the federal tax code, we are on track to give out our own state-version of this tax subsidy, even though the Oregon legislature never voted for it.

These tax breaks subsidize investments that would happen anyway, using taxpayer dollars to juice already profitable deals. One investment that Oregonians could be subsidizing is a new, luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel and condominium.

“Opportunity Zones” subsidize not just the rich, but the ultra-rich. Capital gains income is highly concentrated at the top of the income ladder.

The subsidies to wealth investors undermine the services that truly promote opportunity. Tax dollars that could fund schools, job training programs, and other essential services will instead go to wealthy investors. Wealthy Oregonians will get a tax break not just for their investments in Oregon, but anywhere in the country.

These subsidies risk accelerating gentrification. While “Opportunity Zones” are billed as a way of revitalizing depressed areas, there is no requirement that these investments benefit low-income residents. Worse, they could push out long-term residents of areas designated as “Opportunity Zones.”

Tell Oregon lawmakers to protect Oregonians by enacting House Bill 4010. While this bill, as amended, does not fully disconnect Oregon from the federal “Opportunity Zones,” it significantly pares back the tax break. It also brings much needed transparency to this tax subsidy to the wealthy.