Jeff Ernsthausen is a data reporter at ProPublica. He previously worked on the investigative team at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, where he investigated sexual abuse by physicians nation-wide, police misconduct in Georgia and evictions in metro Atlanta. Prior to his career in journalism, he studied history and economics and worked as a financial and economic analyst at the Federal Reserve.
Wealthy donors Wayne Huizenga Jr. and Jeff Vinik lobbied then-Gov. Rick Scott for the lucrative tax break — and won it. Poorer communities lost out.
In response to reporting by ProPublica and others that show the opportunity zone tax break helping the politically connected, members of Congress are calling for changes in the law.
After a lobbying effort, Dan Gilbert, billionaire founder of Quicken Loans, won special tax status for wealthy areas of downtown Detroit where he owns billions worth of property.
Downplaying its role in the opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma has embraced a federal statistic showing it was a minor player in the pain pill market. But when we took drug potency into account, Purdue’s importance soared.
Opportunity zones are meant to spur new investment in poor areas. But Under Armour’s Kevin Plank is getting a tax break for investments that are not new and not in a poor tract. And Plank’s area was picked over neighborhoods that are actually poor.