By Lindsay Street
September 6, 2019
A state Democratic lawmaker wants to “supercharge” a new federal tax break aimed at fueling private investment — and subsequently, jobs, housing and business — in blighted areas.
But S.C. Rep. Marvin Pendarvis of North Charleston sees a bright side. That’s because the federal tax break needs a state component to make it successful, he said.
“If what I propose gets introduced and passed, it changes lives tremendously,” said Pendarvis, a Democrat. Half of his district is in an opportunity zone that he said is plagued with drugs, crime, homelessness and hopelessness. “We’re facing some real-life challenges in these zones … We need to make sure the investment has a return for the people as well.”
Pendarvis wants to add a state-level tax break for developers, but with a caveat: There needs to be tangible community benefit — such as jobs, affordable housing or green space — from qualifying projects. He said his bill, which will be prefiled prior to the 2020 session, will also track investments and promote community input to help create transparency and accountability.