Northam nominates Hampton Roads areas for new tax breaks

Ben Carson Kenny Alexander

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has asked the federal government to make more than 200 low-income areas eligible for new tax breaks.

Northam said last week that he’d nominated 212 so-called “opportunity zones” to the U.S. Department of Treasury. Several areas in the Hampton Roads region were included in the nomination, including the St. Pauls area of Norfolk.

Norfolk city officials voted in January to move forward with a plan to overhaul three public housing neighborhoods in this area — Calvert Square, Tidewater Gardens, and Young Terrace.

Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, visited Norfolk earlier in the month and toured some of the areas Norfolk is looking to revitalize.

During his visit, Carson said, “One of the things that impressed me most driving around the city with (Mayor Kenny Alexander) was I didn’t see large amounts of blight like I’ve seen in other cities.”

A new tax overhaul passed last year allows for tax breaks for certain kinds of investments in certain designated low-income census tracks. A map released by the state shows all of the areas nominated.

Northam said the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked to identify which census tracks to nominate. The governor was allowed to nominate 212 out of 901 eligible areas.

Northam said he expects the federal government to accept his nominations and establish the “opportunity zones” by late spring.

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