Published: Sun, April 22, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Five areas of Collier named Opportunity Zones

Five areas of Collier named Opportunity Zones

The Berkshires' three largest communities - the cities of North Adams and Pittsfield, and the town of Adams - are in the pipeline to become federally designated Opportunity Zones.

"The Opportunity Zone program is ideal for the many rural communities across Southwest Florida that are seeking to grow their economies and revitalize their areas".

While the federal government is responsible for defining the investment process, the governor of each state was given until April 20 to nominate qualified census tracts as opportunity zones, and Virginia was allowed to submit 212 nominations out of the 901 eligible low-income census tracts. "These investments will help the area's economy thrive and attract businesses and jobs to these targeted areas", said Cissy Proctor, head of the state's Department of Economic Opportunity.

The areas could benefit economically from a federal incentive program included in the tax cut bill passed by Congress in December, allowing capital investors to create private-sector investment vehicles known as Opportunity Funds.

Gov. Ralph Northam has recommended that federal officials designate two economic development "opportunity zones" in Wise County and Norton.

The list of nominated tracts, additional data, evaluation criteria, and an interactive map can be found at DCED's Qualified Opportunity Zones website. Private investors will receive tax incentives to reinvest their unrealized capital gains into the funds, and the funds will then invest 90 percent of those dollars into the qualifying low-income census tracts. Forty-eight percent of the tracts are from "Gateway Cities", which are municipalities with a population between 35,000 and 250,000, with median household income and rate of educational attainment of bachelor's degree or greater below the state average.

Pennsylvania had 1,197 census tracts eligible for Qualified Opportunity Zone status, and was given the opportunity to designate 25 percent or a maximum 300 low-income community tracts as zones.

The U.S. Treasury has committed to responding to state submissions within 30 days.

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