Thursday, March 29, 2012
Hanover, Bethlehem Township Sue Over Allentown's Tax Grab
In a news release accompanying the Complaint, Township Managers Jay Finnigan and Howard Kutzler state that other municipalities in Northampton and Lehigh Counties will join this litigation "in the coming days and weeks."
Filed by James Preston, an attorney in the Bethlehem firm of Broughal and DeVito, the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the NIZ legislation for two reasons.
First, it violates a constitutional prohibition of "special" legislation, laws that give favorable treatment to one municipality at the expense of everyone else. A NIZ can only be establish is a city of the third class with "a population of at least î06,000 and not more than 107,000, based upon the 2000 Federal decennial census.” Only Allentown that description.
Second, the NIZ legislation violates the Uniformity Clause. It fails to identify who is being taxed and at what rate. It instead systematically and deliberately diverts EIT revenues due to other municipalities, even though those funds are "critical to performing their legislative functions."
In addition to seeking a declaratory judgment that the NIZ legislation is unconstitutional, Hanover and Bethlehem Townships are asking for injunctive relief against a project that "could have disastrous consequences on local municipalities.
The suit names the Commonwealth, Governor, Department of Revenue, Attorney General, Auditor General and State Treasurer as Defendants.
A copy is below.
Updated 9:40 AM: There were some vicious OT comments posted last night by "FDAA." I finally started deleting them, and the comments became incessant. FDAA has since posted a comment denying that she is the author. I believe her. Last night, before hitting the sack, I saw a new blog post by Tricia Mezzacappa, the Wicked Witch of West Easton. Her blog contains a picture of me with this caption: "This man has no dick." What a lady! Amazingly, she's running for delegate to the GOP convention.