Professor Deanna Newton Presents "Closing the Opportunity Gap" at Florida State University, University of Toronto, Boston University, and 26th Annual Critical Tax Conference
Professor Deanna S. Newton presented "Closing the Opportunity Gap" at Florida State University College of Law, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Boston College Law School, and the 26th Annual Critical Tax Conference.
Professor Newton's presentation at Florida State University College of Law was on March 6 and was part of the Law and Business Speaker Series, hosted by Jeffrey Kahn. Her presentation at University of Toronto Faculty of Law was on March 15 and was part of the James Hausman Tax and Policy Workshop. Her presentation at Boston College Law School was on April 21 and was part of the Tax Policy Collaborative, hosted by James Repetti. Professor Newton's most recent presentation was part of the 26th Annual Critical Tax Conference held on April 27-29 at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
Abstract of "Closing the Opportunity Gap"
Researchers have found little to no evidence that Opportunity Zones positively impact zone residents’ lives. Scholars agree that the majority of benefits from Opportunity Zone legislation go to wealthy investors and should be reformed to better benefit community members. This Article argues that current reform efforts and related scholarship do not give adequate weight to active and direct participation by community members and investors. This Article proposes two novel policy reforms for the Opportunity Zone program, which fills a growing gap in Opportunity Zone literature. First, investors should be required to buy into the community financially or personally. Buy-in would entail a one-time lump sum payment to a community fund or a community service pledge to ensure actualized commitment to community development. Second, a percentage of each Opportunity Zone should be reserved for current community members to invest in. Investors are currently not required to finance projects geared toward the needs of local communities, and are instead funding developments they would have already invested in, whether located in an Opportunity Zone or not.
I argue for a comprehensive framework that focuses on active and direct participation by community members and investors. My proposal focuses on transformative participation – participation that will require buy-in by investors and ownership by community members.