President Donald Trump's "opportunity zones" tax incentive, purportedly designed to help poor communities, is actually benefiting some of his closest allies, according to a new report from The New York Times.
The multi-billion dollar tax break, allegedly meant to channel investments into poor communities and create housing and jobs, allows beneficiaries to "delay paying taxes on profits from stocks or other investments for years." All they have to do to qualify is direct their gains into so-called "opportunity zones," which makes their investments tax-free.
The president has described the tax incentive as "the hottest thing going," but, according to the report, although some money has indeed reached poor communities, ultra-wealthy Americans are "poised to reap billions in untaxed profits." Among them are some of Trump's closest allies.
The Kushners are buying properties in opportunity zones in Florida, New Jersey, and New York. In Miami, Kushner Companies is set to build a luxury high rise. Cadre -- an investment company co-founded by Jared and Joshua Kushner -- is raising hundreds of millions of dollars for similar projects.
Former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie has raised money for two different opportunity zone projects -- one of them a self-storage center in Connecticut, and the other an apartment building in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director-turned-Trump critic, runs an investment company taking advantage of the president's tax incentive. The company is using the opportunity zone program to build a luxury hotel in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, and it has already raised more than $50 million for the project.
Richard LeFrak, Trump's longtime friend and major campaign contributor, is working on a 183-acre project in a Florida opportunity zone. The monumental project is set to include 12 residential towers.
Other wealthy Americans are also benefiting from the tax scheme, including Richard Forman, the former owner of the Forman Mills chain of clothing stores, hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman, and Dallas Mavericks owner and celebrity billionaire Mark Cuban. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and other banks are also taking advantage of Trump's opportunity zones tax break, according to The New York Times.During the 2016 presidential election, Trump campaigned as an economic populist, vowing to recover the American economy and rejuvenate the working class. The president's fiscal policies -- tax cuts in particular -- have not done much for ordinary Americans, analyses suggest.
For instance, an investigation conducted by The Center for Public Integrity in partnership with The Guardian established that Trump's 2017 Tax and Jobs Act -- the biggest corporate tax cut in American history -- did next to nothing for working Americans, while helping corporations make billions in profits.