Charleroi, Cumberland Township nominated for new economic development program

Barbara Miller

Observer Reporter

Two communities in Washington and Greene counties have been nominated for a new federal economic development program designed to bring jobs to low-income areas.

The Qualified Opportunity Zone program provides tax incentives for business owners to invest in projects in low-income communities.

The program is to generate funding for workforce development, affordable housing, infrastructure and business development.

Among the areas recommended by Gov. Tom Wolf before the deadline last Friday were Charleroi Borough, Washington County, and Cumberland Township, Greene County, based on poverty rates.

The program was created through the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law last year.

Investments made by venture capitalists through designated funds in these zones would be allowed to defer or eliminate federal taxes on capital gains. Businesses would get what a spokeswoman for state Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Carroll, called “preferred tax treatment.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has until mid-May to certify Pennsylvania’s recommendations, and the Internal Revenue Service is expected to weigh in as early as June.

Bartolotta publicized the list of communities, noting that those making the governor’s list were places that would have the biggest opportunities for economic development.