The Dominion Post  

City to pursue federal funds

Created on:   Wed, Feb 7, 2018   5:53 PM

Last modified:   Wed, Feb 7, 2018   5:53 PM

The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Council gave City Manager Paul Brake a green light to pursue funds through the Investing in Opportunity Act, described as a $7.7 billion bipartisan provision of the Tax Cut and Job Act signed by President Donald Trump in December.

Brake explained that the act allows governors to designate opportunity zones in which investment would allow for some savings on capital gains taxes.

The city would need to identify “low-income community census tracts,” which would then need to be chosen by the governor’s office from among all the other submissions statewide.

Governors will be able to designate and submit up to 25 percent of the total number of low-income census tracts in a state to the federal government, which will ultimately select where the funds are granted.

Some members of council said they welcomed the opportunity to bolster low-income areas, even if they don’t believe that is the actual aim of the Investing in Opportunity Act.

Deputy Mayor Mark Brazaitis said the city should avoid “unwanted gentrification” and ensure it’s “not signing onto something that secretly benefits the 1 percent, but is addressed legitimately toward people in need.”

Councilor Rachel Fetty said she’s sure the purpose of the act is actually to create tax shelters and not assist low-income communities.

“I think the onus will be on us to make sure whatever business that would want to use our little chunk of Appalachia as a tax shelter, the onus would be on us to be careful and be wise and address those issues,” Fetty said.

Either way, Brake said, “The bottom line is, it brings in needed capital.”