NY Opportunity Zones May Be Subsidizing Guns, Oil, Crypto

New Report Details How State Tax Code Contradicts NY Policy Goals
Opportunity Zones Could Cost NY Up to $420m/yr from 2029

New York may be subsidizing investments in gun mega-sellers, oil companies, and crypto mining under the Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax break, Reinvent Albany said in a report released today: “Guns, Oil, and Crypto.”

NYS and NYC tax codes continue to mirror a Trump-era tax break for investments in Opportunity Zones anywhere in the country. While the program has attracted media attention for giving tax breaks to superyacht marinas and high-end apartment buildings with pet spas, Reinvent Albany also found that funds have been set up to support OZ investments in guns, oil, and crypto. This means that revenue that could be going to clean water or good roads could instead be going to a gun seller in Florida.

For example, New York residents investing in the American Armory Opportunity Fund can get capital gains tax breaks for helping finance Big Daddy Unlimited, a Florida company that aspires to be an Amazon for firearms. The company recently offered an “Alex Jones discount” promoted by the extremist media figure famous for calling the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre a hoax. Though New York has taken steps to implement strong gun control laws, the state and NYC could be supporting gun sellers through the Opportunity Zone program.

New York partially ended its Opportunity Zone tax break in 2021, but left a key provision intact. According to the Citizens Budget Commission, if the state does not fully end the tax break, Opportunity Zones could cost NY up to $424 million a year from 2029 ($284 million for NYS, $140 million for NYC).

See below for the full report, or click here to view the report as a PDF.
View Reinvent Albany’s presentation on the report.

Reinvent Albany, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, the office of Senator Gianaris, and Assemblymember Dinowitz held a remote press conference on the “Guns, Oil, and Crypto” report on Thursday, February 16. See below for the recording.