Advance Notice: Briefs

Tlaib sponsors bill killing opportunity zones

By: - November 24, 2019 1:00 pm

Detroit | Susan J. Demas

On the heels of asking for congressional hearings into a tax break program that may have been misused by wealthy interests, U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) has introduced legislation to eliminate it.

H.R. 5252 would repeal controversial opportunity zones from the U.S. tax code. They were created by GOP tax reform bill passed in 2017 and were supposed to encourage new investments into low-income areas.

A ProPublica investigation last month showed that Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert launched a lobbying effort and secured a designation in downtown Detroit for which he didn’t qualify. ProPublica also uncovered similar practices in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Oklahoma.

“The American people have been scammed by Opportunity Zones,” said Tlaib.“Opportunity Zones were supposed to help uplift low-income communities and those living in poverty, but instead we are seeing them benefit billionaires and their luxury projects. Our communities deserve resources and programs with proven track records to thrive – the current Opportunity Zone law fails to drive real benefits to low-income communities, instead often rewarding President Trump’s donors. We must repeal them to stop yet another form of corporate greed from hurting our communities and tarnishing our democracy.”

The legislation is endorsed by numerous organizations and community groups including: Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Detroit Action, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Organize Florida, The Partnership for Working Families, Action Center for Race and the Economy, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Maryland Communities United, Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, Data For Progress, Alliance for Californians for Community Empowerment, Arkansas Community Organization, New York Communities for Change, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Hedge Clippers Campaign, Take On Wall St., Churches United for Fair Housing, PolicyLink, Americans for Financial Reform.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.