Investors in the under-construction Tru by Hilton in the Manchester Millyard will be getting a huge tax break on their $10 million investment because the Millyard has been determined to be in an “economically distressed community.”
Seabrook, Durham, Raymond, Conway and Waterville Valley are also “distressed” — a term used by federal agencies in determining whether a community can receive status as an Opportunity Zone, where real estate investors can avoid paying capital gains taxes on their investments.
The communities are in some of the 27 census tracts that Gov. Chris Sununu designated in May 2018 as Opportunity Zones, a program created last year as part of President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
The idea is to attract investment in poorer communities that need them. But the criteria for being labeled “distressed” is so lax that more than half the zip codes in the United States (and more than a third in New Hampshire) qualify.
Each state’s governor may pick a quarter of those census tracts as qualified Opportunity Zones, or QOZs, usually designating those already targeted for economic growth. Indeed, the law even allows 5% of a governor’s census tract selections to not be qualified, as long as they are next to a tract that is.
But Sununu just stuck to 106 low-income communities to come up with state’s 27 tracts. Nationwide, there are 8,700.
“The 27 Opportunity Zones that the state selected represent a broad array of diverse communities across New Hampshire, and will collectively benefit the citizens of New Hampshire,” said Sununu spokesperson Benjamin Vihstadt.