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Clarksburg may see an infusion of private investment thanks to an incentive program enacted as part of the 2017 tax reform package (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).
The Opportunity Zones Program offers significant tax breaks to investors seeking to defer or abate their capital gains taxes. Likely investors include corporations, real estate companies and wealthy individuals looking to trim their capital gains tax liabilities through qualified long-term investments, including new or existing buildings, equipment, or tangible property.
The City of Clarksburg has identified and proposed three separate census tracts to be eligible for the new designation.
Opportunity Zones provide a unique opportunity to invest in communities and stimulate economic growth. The investment can be supercharged by pairing it with other credits, such as New Markets Tax Credit, Historical Tax Credits and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
City Manager Martin Howe stated, “The intention of the program is to ensure that underserved areas will be able to attract more investment. This is another proactive tool to assist and stimulate new and existing business. We are excited and optimistic, if selected, the potential impact this tool will have on our economy and city.”
City Manager Martin Howe along with Assistant City Manager Anthony Bellotte submitted three proposals to the WV Department of Commerce with attention to Governor Justice’s office. According to the WV state website, Governor Justice has until March 21, 2018 to submit his Opportunity Zone designations to the U.S. Treasury Department or request a 30-day extension. Once approved, Opportunity Zone designations remain in place for ten years and cannot be modified after the initial designation.
Governor Justice can nominate 54 census tracts as Opportunity Zones. There are 214 eligible census tracts in the state of West Virginia.
Clarksburg successfully secured New Market Tax Credits for the Robinson Grand Performing Arts Center in 2017. There should be a significant amount of complimentary activity between Opportunity Zones and New Market Tax Credits. Opportunity Zones may provide a vehicle for additional investments.
Mr. Howe concluded, “With the inclusion of Opportunity Zones, this will provide a more comprehensive and creative way to encourage investment into Clarksburg. This will allow for future investors to play a vital role in our community development.”