Senator Rogers Joins Development Authority in Announcing Cherokee Opportunity Zone

ATLANTA (Wednesday, May 2, 2012) – Majority Leader Chip Rogers joined with economic development leaders and local elected officials to announce the designation of a new Opportunity Zone in Cherokee County. The Opportunity Zone designation of an area provides significant tax advantages for local employers. Current Opportunity Zones in Georgia have shown strong job growth.

“Our economic development focus should first be to get government out of the way. The American private sector can and will create good high paying jobs, especially if we allow entrepreneurs to keep more of what they earn,” said Rogers. “Each step we take toward economic prosperity will lead to healthier communities that offer more educational opportunities for our youth and high paying jobs for all of our citizens. Thank you to Commissioner Beatty and the Department of Community Affairs as they worked with us to make this opportunity zone in Cherokee County. It absolutely will result in hundreds of new jobs.”

Georgia’s Opportunity Zone Job Tax Credit Program, available through the Department of Community Affairs, offers the highest and most user-friendly job tax credit in the state. To be eligible for the program, an “area” must be “adjacent to” or included within a census tract having greater than 15% poverty according to the Census, and have a Redevelopment Plan or Georgia Enterprise Zone in place by local action.

Opportunity Zones in Georgia communities bring dramatic tax advantages and encourage economic growth through pro-jobs initiatives.

Cherokee County has approximately 3,872 acres in the Northern part of the county that was designated as the Technology Ridge Opportunity Zone in March of 2012. After being designated an Opportunity Zone, the area becomes eligible for the maximum state job tax credit of $3500 per employee for five (5) years starting the year after the hire. Any legal business is eligible and only two or more jobs need to be created to be eligible. There is no upper limit on eligible jobs. Most significantly, if the company’s state income tax liability is insufficient to absorb all of the credits, the balance may be taken by retaining employee withholding taxes that would otherwise be paid to the state.

This allows the credit to be “cashed out” quickly and easily. The amounts retained by the company from employee withholding are exempt by law from Georgia income tax, so the company gets the full value of the credited dollars.

“The success of our existing industries is a testament to the positive business climate in Cherokee County,” said Misti Martin, President of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development. “Local industries located in the Technology Ridge Opportunity Zone are reporting over 150 new jobs in 2012 and plans for over 140 new jobs in the next two years.  The new OZ is already encouraging our existing businesses to expand and will also aid in the recruitment of new businesses.”

The following industries within the Opportunity Zone will be creating the following new jobs due to success in the community:

  • PlayNation: 7-10 jobs
  • Universal Alloy Corporation: 60 jobs over the next 3 years
  • FactoryMation: 10-12 jobs; with the possibility of expanding into additional space creating 30 jobs
  • BEMD/Roller Bearing: 10 new jobs since January; with additional plans to add 20 jobs
  • Belnick, Inc.:  13 new jobs in 2012; additional 15-20 by year end
  • Chart Industries:  51 new jobs in 2012

The Technology Ridge Opportunity Zone will be the first multi-jurisdictional Opportunity Zone in Georgia and will have been responsible for creating 136 new jobs from 5 existing industries in 2012.

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For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2012

Natalie Dale, Director