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Northam kicks off statewide investment program at event in Charlottesville

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam joined business people, investors, financiers and government officials in Charlottesville on Tuesday to kick off Opportunity Virginia, a statewide initiative to bring economic development into distressed and disadvantaged communities.

“I want to do everything I can to make sure Virginia stays the most business friendly state,” Northam told the crowd of about 300 gathered at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business to mingle, network and negotiate at the kickoff.

“We have a lot of people in Virginia who say ‘I’m from the Eastern Shore’ or ‘I’m from Southwest Virginia’ and what we want is to have people say ‘I live in the Eastern Shore’ or ‘I live in Southwest Virginia,’” Northam said. “I want everyone, no matter where they live in Virginia, to have access to a good job.”

Opportunity Virginia is designed to bring together localities, financiers and investors in order to develop project ideas and create investment in specific areas of the state. Northam introduced the initiative in April.

Opportunity zones provide development tax benefits as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. According to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the zones allow investors with capital gains to invest long-term in low-income urban, suburban and rural census tracts.

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