The North Carolina Department of Commerce has selected the Town of Robbins (census tract 9502) as an “Opportunity Zone” under the recently passed federal legislation, known as The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1). The NC Opportunity Zones Program is designed to encourage job creation, economic activity, housing, and other community investments throughout North Carolina.

This program provides a new source of investment capital for areas that need it the most. To be an eligible census tract, the tract must have a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater and/or have family income less than 80% of the area’s median income. The legislation creates a tax break for qualified investors who wish to reinvest unrealized capital gains, avoiding standard capital gain tax obligations.

The Town of Robbins has been deeply affected by both foreign competition and the domestic economic recession. Robbins flourished for nearly seventy years until foreign outsourcing began pulling jobs overseas.

The former Robbins Mill closed its doors in 1990, consequently eliminating the 235 jobs that had managed to remain at the end of its lifespan. Over the next 15 years, nearly every other Robbins factory closed.

All together, these closings resulted in the loss of 1,500 jobs in the 15-year time-span, a significant loss considering the population of Robbins now stands at only 1,201 people.

In the three year time frame from 2008 to 2011, Moore County experienced the fifth-largest percentage increase in poverty in the nation, with the jump occurring primarily in and around the town of Robbins.1 Moore County’s Tier 3 status has continued to penalize the Town of Robbins and other distressed areas of the County over the years by preventing these areas from qualifying for state incentive funding that could help with business recruitment and economic revitalization efforts.

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