With Rossville's poverty rate double the state average, government officials try to spur investment

With Rossville's poverty rate double the state average, government officials try to spur investment

April 19th, 2018 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Hoping to spur investment in the area, the federal government is offering tax breaks to people who pour money into parts of Rossville.

The U.S. Department of Treasury designated the city as an "opportunity zone" on April 9, as the first wave of designations across the country. Investors will get a discount on their federal tax bills when they help develop the area.

Here is how the program works: When people make money off other investments, they can put the profits into an "opportunity fund." With the money in there, according to the Department of Treasury, people will not have to pay capital gains taxes. They must use the money to develop one of the opportunity zones around the country.

An outline of the Opportunity Zone in Rossville, where investors will get federal tax breaks if they pour in money

An outline of the Opportunity Zone in Rossville,...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service designate the opportunity zones, which are supposed to be low-income areas. As of April 9, there were 3,519 across the country. They cover 18 states and do not include Tennessee.

Including Rossville, the federal government approved 260 census tracts across Georgia.

"We have seen firsthand the value of adhering to conservative principles and creating a business-friendly environment to promote economic development," Deal said in a statement. "By attracting more private investment to underserved areas, the tax incentives for Qualified Opportunity Zones will further encourage businesses to invest in the communities that need it most."

According to U.S. Census data, Rossville has a per capita income of $16,500. That's about 35 percent less than the averages for the state of Georgia and the Chattanooga metropolitan area. The poverty rate is 34.3 percent — double the rates of those two areas.

The city's opportunity zone starts at the state line and runs south to the Tennessee-Georgia Memorial Park. In the west, it runs about as far as parts of James Street and the Rossville recreation area. In the east, it runs to South Crest Road.

"Members and leaders in our community have worked hard to help make this city such a desirable place to work and live and I am confident that Rossville will continue to be a city on the rise," State Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga, said in a statement. "This is a step in the right direction for continuing our economic and communal growth and I am thankful for all of those who had a hand in making this possible."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.