West Columbia, SC (March 23, 2018) — Governor McMaster has designated three areas in the City of West Columbia to be nominated as Opportunity Zones. This program provides a federal tax incentive for taxpayers who reinvest unrealized capital gains into "Opportunity Funds," which are specialized avenues dedicated to investing in low-income areas called "Opportunity Zones." The designation of these areas will work to enhance the City’s redevelopment and revitalization plans.
Mayor Bobby Horton said, “We would like to thank Governor McMaster for getting the most out of this federal program with the designation of these three areas within the City of West Columbia as Opportunity Zones. This designation will encourage investors to consider West Columbia as an investment opportunity with the tax incentives given for redevelopment in those areas.”
The intent of the designation is to focus on the following areas:
promoting economic vitality in parts of the state that have not shared in the general prosperity over the past few years;
fund the development of a workforce and affordable housing in areas with escalating prices and inventory shortages;
fund new infrastructure to support population and economic growth;
invest in startup businesses who have a potential for rapid increases in scale;
and upgrade the capability of existing underutilized assets through capital improvement investments.
Mayor Pro-Tem and Council District 4 Councilman Tem Miles said, “I’m thankful for the Governor’s recognition of the opportunity for improvement in West Columbia. I am hopeful these resources will help our efforts towards revitalization across our city.”
The Opportunity Zones program offers investors the following incentives for putting their capital to work in low-income communities:
Investors can roll existing capital gains into Opportunity Funds with no up-front tax bill;
A 5 year holding increases the rolled-over capital gains basis by 10%;
A 7 year holding increases the rolled-over capital gain investment basis 5% for a total of 15%;
Investors can defer their original tax bill until December 31, 2026 at the latest, or until they sell their Opportunity Fund investments, if earlier;
And Opportunity fund investments held in the fund for at least 10 years are not taxed for capital gains.
“The designation of the Opportunity Zones in the area will go a long way for redevelopment and will incentivize growth,” said Council District 8 Councilman Teddy Wingard.
Council District 5 Councilman Boyd Jones, “We are overjoyed that the Governor has taken notice of the need in our area for revitalization. I hope this program will inspire businesses to look at West Columbia as their place to do business.”
Opportunity Zones are a new community development program established by Congress as a part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and are designed to encourage long-term private investments in low-income communities. The zones are comprised of low-income community census tracts and designated by governors in every state. South Carolina designated 25 percent of qualifying census tracts as an Opportunity Zone. Qualifying Zones are based on the 2011-2015 American Community Survey. (http://www.scopportunityzone.com/)
Director of Grants and Special Programs Tara Greenwood said, “It was enlightening to learn about the Opportunity Zone program while gathering data for the nomination packet. The City of West Columbia has a lot to offer potential investors and developers.”
Economic Development Director BJ Unthank stated, “We are very excited about the Opportunity Zones designated by Governor McMaster and look forward to sharing this information with businesses looking to locate in the City of West Columbia.”
The map below shows the chosen Zones.