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The Biggest Problem With Opportunity Zones

June 25, 2020, 5:55 PM

Two years ago, when the U.S. Treasury Department outlined how its new “Opportunity Zones” program would work, many experts were skeptical. Touted as a tax incentive designed to spur investment in low-income communities and help remedy the unequal pace of regional economic development, the program looked to some like another tax break for the wealthy; others feared it would just underwrite big projects in gentrifying neighborhoods rather than lift up disinvested ones.

A new study by the Urban Institute offers more evidence that those skeptics had good reason to doubt the policy’s promises. Most investment under the program had gone to ...