I am back in action, and posting, following an August “on the road.” (Please hold your applause.)
Summer reading and recent press indicates that the 2017 Jobs Act, which created tax advantages for investments in low income communities (“opportunities zones”) would spur job creation, new businesses and employment. It was thought among other things that investments in these zones would foster much needed housing for the indigenous low income population.
Recent magazine press has pointed out that almost all the money that has flowed into opportunity zones, instead of fulfilling this promise, has gone into building housing, with high-end amenities, for wealthier owners or tenants. A recent magazine article noted that the people most benefitted by opportunities zone investment were the Trumps, Kushners and LeFraks of the world.
An interesting side note from the OPAL Wealth Management Conference held in Newport late this July: there was a great deal of interest in opportunity zones, with promoters seeking funding from high-asset family and group family offices.
What is happening may well be an unintended consequence. Even negative press coverage has not suggested that the 2017 Act was cleverly designed just to boost the top 1%. However, the law of unintended consequences may be striking yet again.