The Brian Lehrer Show

Newsmakers meet New Yorkers as host Brian Lehrer and his guests take on the issues dominating conversation in New York and around the world. This daily program from WNYC Studios cuts through the usual talk radio punditry and brings a smart, humane approach to the day's events and what matters most in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, Snap Judgment, Death, Sex & Money, Nancy, Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin and many others. © WNYC Studios

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Opportunity Zones or Gentrification Subsidies?


WNYC reporter Anjali Kamat and Caleb Melby, Bloomberg financial investigations reporter, talk about "opportunity zones," a bipartisan tax incentive plan to encourage development in low-income areas — who benefits — and why Amazon says it won’t participate, despite the fact that its Long Island City site would qualify.

"There is some very clever overlap with places they were pitching Amazon and places they were declaring 'opportunity zones,'" says @CalebMelby from @business.

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) February 12, 2019

"Some people have argued that the kinds of benefits that accrue to developers and investors make ['opportunity zones'] more of gentrification subsidy rather than actually help people who live there," says @anjucomet.

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) February 12, 2019

"Amazon has come out and said they’re not going to use the 'opportunity zone' benefit. Even if they don’t use the benefit directly… it could be used by whoever is building the entire structure and Amazon could access to cheaper financing as a result," says @anjucomet.

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) February 12, 2019

 

But not everyone agrees. Carmelo Garcia, chief development officer of Newark, New Jersey, called in to share his thoughts on opportunity zone benefits:

"We look at it as a clear opportunity at shifting and reshaping the way the funding is going to be used for these distressed neighborhoods… we want all ships to rise and this is going to be the tide to make it happen," says @CarmeloGarcia on the opportunity zone benefit.

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) February 12, 2019

Would Newark take Amazon if NYC doesn't?
"We absolutely are still interested. As they know we were one of the front-runners… Newark is where it’s at. Newark is trending. We will be the next world class destination city," says @CarmeloGarcia, Newark's chief development officer.

— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) February 12, 2019


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