Greenville representatives call out Sununu’s selections of opportunity zones

  • State Rep. Kermit Williams speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • State Rep. Kermit Williams speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Roger Lessard, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democrats speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Rick Miller, head of the Greenville Economic Development Committee speaks in front of the Greenville Town Hall.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Roger Lessard, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democrats speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Roger Lessard, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democrats speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Roger Lessard, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democrats speaks at a press conference in front of the Greenville Town Hall on Friday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/20/2020 9:11:20 PM

As Greenville struggles to make improvements to its downtown with limited funds and opportunities, officials are calling out Gov. Chris Sununu’s selections of areas to receive an economic booster through a new tax incentive program. Namely, an area that includes Waterville Valley, where Sununu’s family operates a ski resort.

During a press conference in front of Greenville Town Hall on Friday, town and state representatives called out the discrepancy. 

“Sununu needs to answer basic questions about why he's taking steps to benefit himself and his family – especially when it’s at Greenville’s expense,” said State Rep. Kermit Williams (D-Wilton), who represents Greenville.

“Why Waterville Valley over Greenville and so many other communities throughout the state?” said Roger Lessard, Chair of the Hillsborough County Democrats. 

In December, Sununu and the Department of Business Affairs revealed 27 communities which would be designated “opportunity zones,” where businesses could defer capital gains taxes by investing in their communities. Examples of investments include construction and development of a commercial property, renovation of an existing property, creation of a new business or expansion of an existing business.

The program is part of the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. As part of the federal guidelines for the program, each state may choose 25 percent of its low-income census tracks to designate as “opportunity zones,” meaning not all eligible communities will be included.

An opportunity zone designation will be in place for 10 years under the program. 

Greenville was eligible for selection, but was not ultimately on the final list. What was, however, was a census tract that includes Waterville Valley and some of its surrounding towns.

Williams said Friday that on its own, Waterville Valley would not have qualified for such an economic incentive, and there are towns much more in need of the boost an opportunity zone would provide.  

Census data shows that Greenville’s median income is $70,529, compared to Waterville Valley’s which is $98,125.

“I’m disappointed that Greenville was not chosen as an Opportunity Zone and shocked Waterville Valley was chosen over us,” said Rick Miller, chair of the Greenville Economic Development Committee. “Sununu obviously cares little for Greenville, but a lot for his personal business ventures. It’s disappointing, but we will still revitalize and transform our town to its full potential.”

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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