EASLEY — Gov. Henry McMaster picked Easley as one of 135 sites across the state that will become “opportunity zones,” as part of a new federal program designed to create jobs in economically distressed areas.
The program makes those designated areas eligible for tax incentives to encourage business creation and the development of affordable housing.
The opportunity zone includes areas inside the Easley city limits and into Downtown Easley. The zone encompasses the northwest side of Downtown Easley, extending north along S.C. 8.
The opportunity-zone idea was initiated in 2016 by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). It eventually became part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which Congress passed and President Trump signed into law in December.
The law opens the door for private investment in economically distressed communities nationwide. It offers companies or private investors a deferral of capital-gains taxes for up to seven years in exchange for reinvesting those dollars inside an opportunity zone.
S.C. Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt said the money can be spent on industrial projects, retail businesses, affordable housing or professional services such as medical offices.
“And the longer they leave the investment there, the better tax benefit they get,” Hitt said