The borough of Tamaqua is on the path to revitalization. Staff from the white house toured the town earlier this week to see how a new federal program will attract new businesses.
President Trump's new tax program makes Tamaqua and many other towns across the country into "opportunity zones."
These new opportunity zones are for distressed towns and cities, and it's going to give developers and businesses a chance to succeed. White house staff from the small business administration, revitalization council, and urban development saw first hand why this program is needed.
"We can really do some big things. We can advance our district, we can advance our cities, we can create jobs, we can revitalize, we can improve quality of life, we can beautify." said Us Congressman Dan Meuser.
The list of possibilities goes on and on for Meuser as he's excited about Tamaqua becoming an opportunity zone. Meuser hosted members from the president's staff to tour the town and see how this program can be effective in bringing a town back. If businesses stay, they will receive tax relief.
"If the investment is left in Tamaqua for a ten year period, there are no capitol gains tax paid as per the regulations as written and provisions of the opportunity zones"
Through the state of Pennsylvania a couple years ago, Tamaqua also became a CRIZ, or Community Revitalization Improvement Zone. Senator David Argall says getting federal and state tax incentives could be a game changer.
"We are the only opportunity zone that is also located in the CRIZ in the whole country." Argall said, "We hope that really provides a one two punch to breath new life into this old town." Along with white house staff were investors and developers who find this program to be attractive. Argall said it's up to them to come here and make the program work for them.
Argall said, "The developers are the missing link that's needed to turn these ideas into reality."
Congressman Meuser said details are still being ironed out, but we could see the first major project in Tamaqua from this new opportunity zone as early as 2020.