Ben Carson Chairs New WH Council Overseeing Opportunity Zones -- And Guess Who Benefits?
The 2017 GOP tax bill created Opportunity Zones to stimulate long-term investments in low-income communities. The program, which was championed by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), provides capital gains relief to those who invest in these areas. The president on Wednesday signed an executive order establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and it will be chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. The Council will work on improving the revitalization efforts by streamlining, coordinating, and targeting existing federal programs to Opportunity Zones and in economically distressed communities. Carson will be charged with overseeing the Council’s 13 federal member agencies to find ways to more effectively use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities. “These are still early days for the work of the Council and Opportunity Zones, but the groundwork has been laid,” Carson said. “The seeds the President has planted are growing and the promise they hold will improve places long forgotten, and the lives of those who call those places home.” However, the AP on Wednesday released an investigative piece which found that the Opportunity Zone program -- which was championed from within the White House by Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner -- could also benefit them financially. Scott had recruited Ivanka Trump as a champion of the program. The AP reported that Kushner holds a big stake in a real estate investment firm that recently announced it is launching a series of Opportunity Zone funds that seek to build major projects under the program. And the couple has interests in at least 13 properties that could qualify for the tax breaks because they are in Opportunity Zones in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. More here.