Oregon Could Trim Opportunity Zones Tax Break

The federal opportunity zones program is a double benefit in the state of Oregon, and legislators are wondering if the program is more effective in setting up tax havens than delivering investments in underserved areas.

2 minute read

January 19, 2020, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Portland

JPL Designs / Shutterstock

"Oregon lawmakers will consider trimming a controversial capital gains tax break when they convene in Salem next month," reports Hillary Borrud.

The capital gains tax in question is the opportunity zones program initiated by the GOP tax reform bill of 2017.

"At issue is whether the opportunity zone program…truly incentivizes redevelopment in blighted areas or is gravy for investors in projects that would happen even without the incentive," according to Borrud.

The deployment of the program in Oregon attracted multiple instances of press attention in 2019. As Elliot Njus explained in February 2019: "Though the opportunity zone program is national, Oregon will feel the tax impact thanks to the state’s own tax code. It automatically mirrors the federal one, so Oregon is effectively offering the same discount a second time on Oregon tax bills."

Now Democratic legislators in Oregon are considering how to trim back that tax break. "House Bill 4010, introduced during an interim hearing Monday, would end the state tax break and require state economists to study the federal program’s effectiveness," according to Borrud. "They would report back to the Legislature by November on whether Oregon should reinstate some form of the state opportunity zone tax break."

News about the state of Oregon's actions to trim Opportunity Zones emerge the same week that the Acting U.S. Treasury Inspector General Richard Delmar announced an investigation of the program at the request of several members of Congress. 

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