Professors’ Corner – Opportunity Zones: A Reassessment

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Professor's Corner

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ABA webinar



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Panelists include Edward DeBarbieri (Albany); Rashmi Dyal-Chand (Northeastern); and Brandon Weiss (American). Moderated by Andrea Boyack

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new tax incentive program ostensibly to spur economic development in low-income communities: the Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ) program. The structure of the QOZ program diverged from prior place-based tax break programs to streamline development and minimize oversight, and it has been criticized as enriching wealthy developers and investors more than impoverished communities. These criticisms may or may not be justifiable, and a full assessment of the program’s impacts may be premature because the COVID-19 pandemic stymied the roll-out of the program in some areas, perhaps deferring its potential benefits. This program considers the successes, failures, and consequences of the QOZ program in the five tumultuous years since its creation.