Spectrum News: Two Dozen Groups Back Ending State Tax Break in Opportunity Zones

Originally published in Spectrum News on February 24, 2021.

Good-government organizations, labor, and advocacy groups in New York have signed onto a push by Sen. Mike Gianaris to remove the state tax break from the federal Opportunity Zone program. 

All told, 24 groups, including NYSUT, 1199 SEIU, CWA District 1, Make the Road NY, ALIGN-NY are backing Gianaris's measure in a new memo released this week by Reinvent Albany. 

The 2017 federal tax law created a program meant to spur investment in economically distressed neighborhoods. The state designated through census tracts what areas would qualify as Opportunity Zones for incentivized investment. But the move led to areas in wealthy and fast-growing parts of Manhattan and Long Island City to be included. 

Gianaris's proposal in the Legislature would, in essence, unlink the state tax code from the federal measure creating the Opportunity Zones.

“The Opportunity Zone program was intended to help economically distressed areas, but is being abused to grant tax breaks to already overdeveloped neighborhoods, including Hudson Yards” Gianaris said. “At a time when the state budget is in dire straits, a giveaway to wealthy developers is the last thing we need.”

Read the full story at Spectrum News: NY State of Politics here.