Amazon has been heavily expanding into areas that the government designates for special tax incentives, according to a new analysis that comes amid growing regulatory scrutiny of the e-commerce giant.
The company has located delivery stations, fulfillment centers and even an air hub in “opportunity zones,” regions across the country where investors can qualify for capital gains tax breaks under a 2017 law.
The initiative had bipartisan backing and was intended to incentivize investment in some of the most economically distressed regions of the country. But critics of the program have raised concerns that such programs further enrich wealthy investors and corporations for projects that would have happened without government assistance.
And because there aren’t requirements that investors and corporations publicly report how they are using the tax breaks, it’s difficult to measure impact. Experts say it’s impossible to know if the program is having the intended effect of creating jobs and affordable housing — or simply exacerbating economic divides.