The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 led to the creation of 8,764 tax havens across the U.S. called Opportunity Zones. They offer a lucrative capital gains tax break to the wealthy, ostensibly to encourage them to invest in poor, capital-starved communities. How did this provision find its way into the 2017 tax bill? What did Sean Parker have to do with it? Do Opportunity Zones work as promised? What’s happening on the ground?
David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center at Brookings, tackles these and other questions in his new book, “Only the rich can play: How Washington works in the new Gilded Age.” On the morning of October 7, Wessel was interviewed by The New York Times’ Jim Tankersley. Wessel then interviewed Martin Muoto of SoLa Impact, which is raising opportunity zone money for affordable housing in South Los Angeles. Following that, The Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin moderated a discussion among opportunity zone advocates and skeptics, focused on reforms that might make the program more effective.
During the live event, the audience submitted questions at sli.do using the code #OpportunityZones and joined the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #OpportunityZones.