Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Will Senator Pat Browne Revise NIZ Law?
The 2009 law establishing the NIZ, defines "City" as any "city of the third class with, on the effective date of this section, a population of at least 106,000 and not more than 107,000, based on the 2000 Federal decennial census."
That could only be Allentown.
As one of my readers pointed out yesterday, Governor Corbett has recently vetoed similarly worded legislation. He nixed a legislative moratorium on countywide reassessments limited to counties of the fourth class, with a population between 185,000 and 210,000 as of the 2010 United States Census.
This could only be Washington County.
In both cases, it is unconstitutional special legislation.
Senator Pat Browne, who previously had been telling everyone that the NIZ law would pass constitutional scrutiny, is now scurrying to make changes to a law he previously said could not be changed.
He might expand the definition of the NIZ so that it includes a few other cities. While he's at it, he might remove the controversial EIT tax grab.
But Senator Browne is no longer trusted by municipal tax officials.
Betty Parrish, Upper Nazareth's Earned Income Tax Officer, fired off an email to fellow tax collectors in Northampton County's Tax Collection Committee yesterday: "I have been told that Sen Brown [sic] may attempt an 'end-run' in the NIZ litigation by seeking to amend Act 50 so that the unconstitutional aspect of the law is removed. I suggest you alert our State Reps to this possibility and see if they can assist in thwarting this effort."
Although I'm reluctant to characterize Senator Browne's action as an "end run," it's clear that an expanded definition or even a surrender on the EIT will still leave surrounding municipalities with the poaching problem.