MAP: Pa. Census Tracts nominated for Opportunity Zone designation

5 Schuylkill County boroughs townships nominated as Opportunity Zones

5 Schuylkill County boroughs townships nominated as Opportunity Zones

The Wolf administration has nominated 300 census tracts across Pennsylvania as eligible areas for tax breaks under a new federal program created to attract more investments to low-income neighborhoods.

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.

Upon approval of the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, these Opportunity Zones will cover over 1,000 square miles and more than 500,000 Hoosier residences.

The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that passed last December included provisions for a new revitalization tool, the Opportunity Zone and Opportunity Fund. The state says the federal rulemaking process will begin after the zones are named. The Delaware sites include a mix of residential, commercial, and industrial properties that are well-positioned to compete for the significant investment needed in low-income communities across the state.

A map of the Ohio Opportunity Zones - 320 tracts were approved in 73 counties - is available here. The federal initiative allows up to 20 percent of the state's eligible low-income census tracts to receive the designation. Governors could request the Treasury Department to designate up to 25 percent of eligible census tracts in their state, plus a smaller percentage of census tracts adjacent to eligible census tracts.

Applicant municipalities explained why their nominated tracts offer attractive investment opportunities, what level of planning they had already completed, and key demographic data such as median family income, unemployment, and poverty rates - both in the nominated tract and in the wider community.

Rep. Joe Gresko, D-121, called the Opportunity Zone "a powerful incentive to increase investment in Stratford".

A part of the new tax laws, 28 areas in Southwest Florida have been designated for application as zones for lower taxes and economic development.

Fearing displacement caused by a potential wave of opportunity zone investment, the Redwood City Council in California voted to send a letter to Governor Jerry Brown requesting to remove any Redwood City census tracts from the program.

"As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Cinnaire is very excited to potentially facilitate these opportunity zone partnerships and strengthen Delaware's economy", saidJim Peffley, executive vice president of Cinnaire.

Opportunity Zones are created to spur economic development by providing tax benefits to investors to re-invest their unrealized capital gains.

More information about Opportunity Zones can be found here.

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