Virginia Opportunity Zones

Virginia designated a total of 212 census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones. These Opportunity Zones are part of a new government program that encourages private investments in economically distressed communities. Private investors are awarded capital gains tax incentives, as a way to facilitate development in disadvantaged areas. Certain census tracts qualify as opportunity zones, but must receive nominations from the state governor and the CEO of U.S. Territories. Virginia has an abundance of cities that feature opportunity zones and here is a look at the four cities with the most census tracts that have qualified for this designation.

  • Norfolk
  • Newport News
  • Virginia Beach
  • Portsmouth
  • Norfolk

  • Newport News

  • Virginia Beach

  • Portsmouth

Virginia had 900 census tracts that met the criteria for opportunity zones. However, the final number came to 212. These areas are nominated due to income level and poverty rate. The premise is to identify economically distressed areas through the use of those factors and then create opportunities that are lucrative for investors. That concept is intended to bring economic growth and help transform communities. That is also expected to boost employment, raise the local economy, increase property values and strengthen the community workforce.

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Virginia Tax Situation

The state of Virginia features four personal income tax brackets with the lowest being 2 percent. The highest bracket checks in at 5.75 percent. The sales tax is also favorable at just 5.30 percent. There are slight percentages added in local municipalities, although the average increase across the state is just .33 percent. That ranks Virginia lower than most states when it comes to overall sales tax.

The property taxes in Virginia have lowered the cost of living as it ranks 17thamong all state’s in lowest property taxes. There are some exclusive areas in the state of Virginia, although the average property tax on a $185K home is just $1,467 per year. Virginia ranks as one of the top 10 states for the upper class as low taxes combined with low property crime rates have made it an appealing place for the wealthy.

Virginia’s middle class was recently impacted by state tax changes. This comes after a long period of stability among state taxes and has been met with resistance by middle-class families. This is expected to cost middle-class families more money while not having the same impact on the upper-class tax bracket.

NY Industries with Tax Breaks

Virginia does not have a history of resistance when it comes to offering tax incentives to various industries. In fact, the tax incentives have historically been very generous. Companies can set up locations in Virginia and take full advantage of its tax breaks. Here is a look at some of the industries that have utilized these incentives.

    • Technology

      The state of Virginia has established technology zones, which is meant to draw in companies in the tech industry by providing an array of incentives.

    • Tobacco

      The Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund has led to the creation of countless new jobs by helping the local tobacco industry.

    • Marine

      Tax bills have targeted the marine industry, specifically related to the manufacturing of marine-related equipment.

    • Aerospace and Defense

      Tax incentives welcome companies interested in being close to Washington D.C.

    • Data Centers

      Virginia offers big tax incentives for companies who fill buildings with computers, which have come to be known as data centers.

    Those tax breaks are not enough to retain all companies in the state of Virginia. While Virginia is experiencing a record number of people leaving the state, the tech industry, along with many others, are booming. The Dulles Tech Corridor is growing and much of that has to do with tax incentives that have served as a way of preventing companies from fleeing the state.

    Virginia State Financial Facts

    The cost of living changes quite a bit throughout the state Virginia. The cost increases closer to the D.C. area and then drops off significantly in rural areas deeper into the state. Here is a look at some financial facts about the state of Virginia:

    • Median household income – $65,051
    • Median household savings
      • $0 in savings: 46%
      • $1,000 or less in savings: 58%
    • Total household investments

                67 percent of families that own their home

                Median value of Virginia home – $261,300

    Current economic condition of Virginia

    The state of Virginia is one that expects to remain stable because of the reliance on government agencies. The presence of these agencies is not going to fade as it continues to be an integral part of the economy. The Northern Virginia area features higher wages and across the state, wages have increased by 1.2 percent.

    The economy of Virginia has helped give it a high ranking in quality of life, as it stands at No.1 in that category, according to Forbes Magazine. Job growth is a little over 1 percent across the state and unemployment remains at a low of 3 percent. Defense companies and military installations have steadied the economy, although there is diversity as denoted by the tobacco industry and other agricultural sectors that continue to thrive. However, the livestock industry has now taken over as the top agricultural venture in the state.

    One of the ways Virginia fought its way out of the financial crisis of 2009 was by offering large tax incentives. Despite some resistance, Virginia continued to shell out more tax breaks and was able to steadily make progress by drawing companies to the state. As a result, Virginia’s unemployment rate was three to four percent lower than the national average in the immediate years following the financial crisis. Part of the success was also attributed to the high number of government jobs in Virginia. This created more stability because of the lack of employment volatility that comes with government jobs.

    Virginia Primary Industries

    Virginia has some mainstay industries that contribute a great deal to the state economy. However, there is diversity in the economy as there is more than just technology and government industries controlling the state’s economic growth. Here is a look at the primary industries in the state.

    • Technology
    • Tobacco
    • Construction
    • Manufacturing
    • Defense

    Top Economic Cities in Virginia

    Virginia has several cities where the economy is thriving and that has made for a lot of prosperous careers in a variety of industries. There are 22 Fortune 500 companies based in Virginia. Capital One Financial and Freddie Mac are a couple of the most successful companies in the state as there are a lot of upward trends in Virginia business. However, there are also communities that are experiencing significant economic hardships. The poverty rates in the cities of Hampton and Newport News are over 15 percent. There are many factors contributing to these numbers, such as low graduation rates and higher crime areas. These are areas that opportunity zones were intended to target. Below is a look at all 212 of Virginia’s opportunity zones.

    • Accomack (2)
    • Albemarle (2)
    • Alleghany
    • Amherst
    • Appomattox
    • Arlington (2)
    • Augusta
    • Bedford (2)
    • Brunswick
    • Buchanan
    • Campbell (2)
    • Caroline
    • Carroll
    • Charlotte
    • Chesterfield (4)
    • Culpepper
    • Cumberland
    • Dickenson
    • Dinwiddie
    • Essex
    • Fairfax County (9)
    • Fauquier
    • Franklin County
    • Frederick
    • Giles
    • Gloucester
    • Grayson
    • Greensville
    • Halifax (3)
    • Henrico (7)
    • Henry (5)
    • James City
    • King and Queen
    • Lancaster
    • Lee
    • Loudoun (2)
    • Mecklenburg (2)
    • Montgomery (2)
    • Northampton
    • Orange
    • Page
    • Pittsylvania (3)
    • Prince Edward
    • Prince George
    • Prince William (6)
    • Pulaski
    • Richmond County 5
    • Roanoke County
    • Rockingham (2)
    • Russell
    • Scott
    • Shenandoah
    • Smyth (2)
    • Spotsylvania (3)
    • Sussex
    • Tazewell (2)
    • Warren
    • Washington
    • Wise (4)
    • Wythe
    • Alexandria (4)
    • Bristol (2)
    • Buena Vista
    • Charlottesville (2)
    • Chesapeake (3)
    • Covington
    • Danville (4)
    • Emporia
    • Franklin
    • Fredericksburg (2)
    • Galax (2)
    • Hampton (4)
    • Harrisonburg (2)
    • Hopewell (2)
    • Lexington
    • Lynchburg (4)
    • Manassas
    • Martinsville (2)
    • Newport News (7)
    • Norfolk (16)
    • Norton
    • Petersburg (3)
    • Portsmouth (8)
    • Radford (2)
    • Richmond (11)
    • Roanoke (4)
    • Salem
    • Staunton (2)
    • Suffolk
    • Virginia Beach (8)
    • Waynesboro
    • Williamsburg
    • Winchester