Trump In Our Backyard

Told the luxury Market Street expansion “won’t pencil out,” Eugene City Council voted 5-3 to grant Brian Obie and Casey Barrett of Gordon Lofts their MUPTE application worth $4.7 million.

What the council may not have known is that the Market Street Expansion is in a Donald Trump “opportunity zone.” The University of Oregon and EWEB is in another “opportunity zone,” and Eugene has a third in Bethel.

Trump’s “opportunity zones” are part of his 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and offer investors a tax haven for capital gains. Marketed as an “incentive” to “spur” development in “low income communities,” these “zones” are corporate offshore accounts within the country, like little Caymen Islands.

Through an “opportunity zone,” investors can defer their capital gains, reduce them up to 15 percent (which is the tax limit on capital gains) and pay zero taxes on further gains after 10 years. Yes, zero!

Available only through “opportunity funds” — kudos, Wall Street! — “opportunity zones” are hand-me-downs for loyal service that will make the ruling class richer still, widen the wealth gap and impoverish our communities with a lack of services and debt-slavery.

While ever more Eugeneans live on the streets, we can’t do anything about Trump’s let-them-eat-cake “opportunity zones.” Nor can we reverse the state’s complicity.

But we can say “no” to these rich-richer economic policies and our own “let-them-eat-cake” MUPTE grant to Gordon Lofts. Eugene’s Council can (they can) and should rescind Obie and Barrett’s MUPTE tax credit and end the MUPTE program.

Otis Haschemeyer