Friday, June 22, 2012

First the NIZ, Now a Commuter Tax

Despite all its secrecy and, later, its bullying, Allentown's attempted tax grab from other municipalities has blown up in its face. Instead of waiting for an adverse decision from Commonwealth Court, the state legislature will change a 2009 law allowing Allentown to use tax money that belongs to other municipalities.

Chalk one up for the good guys. 

But the battle is far from over. Another Lehigh Valley municipality, Easton, is ready to shake down nonresidents who work in Shadtown with a commuter tax.

Courthouse workers, some of them on food stamps, will see more of their hard-earned money going out the door. 

I'll have more about this next week. But when NIZ cheerleaders like Mike Fleck sit on Easton's board as he does, expect to get hosed. 

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

A commuter tax for Allentown is a great idea. It is very Constitutional as well. Maybe it will make the suburbs think twice before suing the NIZ. They will realize quickly how much they depend on the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. The suburbs played with fire and have they have possibility of getting burnt, badly.

Anonymous said...

Panto is Pawlowski with worse grammar. They are both constantly scheming for ways to avoid hard spending choices. Then, they blame their neighbors. Forks already hates Panto. I'd love to see him rejected in an Executive race. Stealing city mayors are despised for good reason.

Anonymous said...

tax them till they bleed and then let real eastonians have the jobs

Anonymous said...

Forget the ad hominem about Fleck or any other Easton personality. The city was granted relief by state law to seek this type of taxation. Perhaps, the legislature was wrong and maybe the law should be changed. While they are changing the law, maybe the legislature should consider relief to communities like Easton which host large tax free institutions such as the county and Lafayette College. Oh yeah, when the county threatens to pack up and leave, do the town a big favor and take the prison also. The prison is a government development that is a real plus to Easton. The county did not hesitate in supporting an agreement with West Easton to pay fees for a proposed drug facility. Maybe a little such generosity for Easton would avoid a commuter tax.

Anonymous said...

I want more taxes in Pa. that means more for me.


Thank You,

Gomez

Anonymous said...

Another great solution brought to us from our skeevy leaders.

Anonymous said...

A commuter tax does not hurt the municipalities it takes money out of an individuals pockets.

Here we go again!!!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Forget the ad hominem about Fleck or any other Easton personality. The city was granted relief by state law to seek this type of taxation."

The shot at Fleck is no ad hominem, but an accurate description of what he was and is.

As for West Easton, that fee is being paid by Atiyeh, not the County. Ar least be accurate.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:56AM "The county did not hesitate in supporting an agreement with West Easton to pay fees"

Correction, the Landlord and the Borough came to the agreement for the use. The County is NOT paying anything to West Easton.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Hasn't the jail, now Northampton CO prison been there since the 1700's?

Thanks

ironpigpen said...

Anon 3:11 AM,

I think it is the guys who are building a record-smashing minor league hockey rink who will end up getting burned, myself.

"The arena itself, at $ 158.0 million, is roughly double the cost of most recent minor league hockey arenas built over the last decade."

No one has spent more than $ 100.0 million on an arena with a minor league hockey team as its principal tenant."

"WITHOUT SUBURBAN TAX MONEY, DOES ARENA SHRINK" --- The Morning Call --- July 21, 2012

But, what would I know?

I'm just a "troll" who does not hang around and make campaign contributions to the 'right kind of people'.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:59, Yes.

Anonymous said...

“If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, and give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses.

And the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they do now, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mis-managers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains around the necks of our fellow sufferers.

And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second, that second for a third, and so on 'til the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automations of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering.

And the forehorse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression."

Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom?

Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.”

Thomas Jefferson

Anonymous said...

From the Express Times 1/27/2012:

Under the proposed contract, the county would rent the 100-bed rehabilitation center for 10 years, with two 5-year options to extend it, for $447,125 a year. That figure boils down to $18.25 per square foot at the 24,500-square foot building located at the corner of Main and East streets in West Easton.

"Two appraisals estimated the building was worth $16 and $16.50 a square foot, but Northampton County Solicitor Karl Longenbach said the county agreed to a higher rate because developer Abraham Atiyeh, the county's would-be landlord, will pay a $50 fee to the borough for every person housed at the facility."

Just call me dumb. But, a successful businessman like Atiyeh is not going to pay a fee out of his pocket. He is going to tack the fee on to the lease and the county is going to pay it.

Anonymous said...

If you want an intelligent argument about this tax, have the argument. If you are going to use Mike Fleck as the poster boy, you are going ad hominem. The state authorized this legislation in the 1980's to assist financially distressed municipalities. Many municipalities have taken advantage of the provisions which permit increases on earned income for all workers in the community. If you have good arguments against the legislation, speak up and let's try to change it. The legislature will have to come up with another method of assisting the municipalities. But, Mike Fleck has nothing to do with Easton's problem or the remedies established by law.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll call you dumb. Abe Atyeh is paying the assessment. The County refused to pay precisely bc it did not want Easton coming after t with its own assessment. So drop the bullshit. The County is paying a higher rental to lease bc Atiyeh is paying the assessment, but the fee is being paid by him, not the county.

Anonymous said...

look at the record in ET. The county is paying an inflated price for the property in order to provide Atiyeh with the money to pay the lease. It's very clear. I can understand that it was set up that way to avoid payments to Easton. But, at the end of the day the county will have paid more than what was necessary.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If you want an intelligent argument about this tax, have the argument. If you are going to use Mike Fleck as the poster boy, you are going ad hominem"

Look, it is Fleck, nit me, who choreographed all the trade unions into invading Hanover Tp. It is Fleck who appeared on Business Matters, yelling at everyone wile waving pom poms for the NIZ. It is Fleck who refused to debate me. He has objectively and identifiable been the poster boy for the NIZ. During the Business Matters show, he derided suburbs.

So this is no ad hominem. Had I called him a liar who falsely claimed to have a college degree when he ran for Mayor, then you could accuse me of going ad hominem. If I said his own ex-girlfriend had to sue him for money he borrowed from her, then you could accuse me of being ad hominem. Had i accused him of fleecing a state rep candidate in Kutztown, then you could accuse me of being ad hominem.

But I did not do that. I pointed out that he has been a NIZ cheerleader, and he has been. He will vote for a commuter tax almost as quickly as he can chug a draft at the BrewWorks.

If you want to make an intelligent argument, start by beg honest. Fleck is a NIZ cheerleader.

Anonymous said...

Call Fleck what you want. I will never disagree. Your post is about Easton's need to increase taxes on commuters to pay for pension costs. That proposal was introduced by the Mayor and his administration. Fleck stated that he supported the tax. He did not introduce it. Again, there is no argument about Fleck. The issue is the tax. And, without a substitute the city has no choice but to enact it.

Anonymous said...

Without the commuter tax, Easton property owners are probably looking at a minimum six mill increase which will bring their level of taxation to 31 mills. I don't think that council members have any other choice but to vote for the tax.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Like I said, I'll have more abut that next week. Easton obviously has a choice. That's why they have to vote for it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I don't like paying county taxes to maintain the dirt roads in the boonies either. But do you see me crying? Give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

A choice? The ET reported, "Nobody on Easton City Council said they support a commuter tax. But it’ll take a “magic wand” to avoid one, according to Mayor Sal Panto Jr." Yeah, "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy" I like the West Easton fee. The county pays an inflated price for a lease, so they can give extra money back to the lessor, so the lessor can give extra money back to the municipality. Why is this not a "kickback"? What happens if the lessor keeps the extra money and does not give it back to the municipality? If we are to believe that the county is not a part of this transaction, would they have any legal recourse to the lessor if the lessor keeps the extra money and does not turn it over to the municipality? The whole thing is fishy.

Anonymous said...

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.
Thomas Jefferson, April 6, 1816

For example. If the system be established on basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.
Thomas Jefferson, April 6, 1816

Anonymous said...

I guess the bill for Panto's bragging about no tax increases is coming due. It's time to mug those who get out of Dodge and head for safety before the shooting starts (although recent daytime shootings make flex time scheduling imperative).

Anonymous said...

The hand wringing by the suburbanites might have merit if they just sat in their former cornfields and ordered Dominos pizza and visited the myriad of big box strip malls. But they don't. They use the cities and their resources when it suits them and then inexplicably act as if they do not exist when it doesn't.

Shameful parochialism.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of jobs in the burbs. No need for suburbanites to work in these cities with their extra taxes. A commuter tax could actually hurt the cities in the long run.

Anonymous said...

But they come to eat dinner, see a show, see a concert, you name it. There's nothing to do in the Forks and BT's of the world. Just sit around and complain about taxes apparently.

It's like the people who complain about freeloaders while cashing their disability or social security checks every week.

Anonymous said...

10:37,

Try to keep up. Here are the facts - s l o w l y: People aren't going to the killing streets of Allentown and Easton. That's why those disasters are furiously attempting cake and circuses schemes to bring people back. On any Friday night, there are more Eastonians at the intersection of 33 and 248 in Lower Nazareth than there are Eastonians left in Easton to duck and cover. Easton and Allentown are dangerous crime-ridden shit holes that scare people - most of all those who left the towns for safer environs. Easton and Allentown are pig sty albatrosses run by turkeys elected by sheep.

Anonymous said...

The NIZ should have paid Fleck to be against the NIZ. He eggs on opponents. No benefit from his cheerleading.

Anonymous said...

Annex MEXICO to the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:56
I was in downtown Easton a few weeks ago on a Sat. Night.
It was great.
Your way off base. You really do not know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:56
I was in downtown Easton a few weeks ago on a Sat. Night.
It was great.
Your way off base. You really do not know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:56
I was in downtown Easton a few weeks ago on a Sat. Night.
It was great.
Your way off base. You really do not know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:56, I was just about to post the same thing, probably using less colorful language though. I agree 100% with the point of your message.

It always amazes me that people such as Anon 11:52 think that Allentown is an asset to the Valley, and and assume that people want to visit that rathole. Allentown is a giant sucking drain on the Lehigh Valley, and about the only time I find myself in Allentown is when I'm passing from one end of the Valley to the other. Every visit to Allentown begins with rolling up my car windows and making sure my car doors are locked.

If you ask 90% of the people who work there (through no fault of their own), they would tell you that they would do anything to get out. The stats are probably about the same for those who live there also.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:35....I was in Easton to visit the Farmers Market at Easton's Square last weekend. Enjoyed the fine people there and the atmosphere. Then as I walked to my car less than three blocks away we had one guys throw up right in front of us on the sidewalk and stagger away and then while crossing at the crosswalk with the right-of-way a lady in a mini-van came within inches of killing me and my wife and she had the gull to yell at me in a language that was not english. I gave Easton a try....never again. And Allentown? You will never see me in that OK-Corral shoot 'em up area to see a hockey game.

Anonymous said...

I also visited the Easton Farmers Market this past Saturday. I didn't run into anyone throwing up in front of me, and I wasn't almost killed. I actually walked home since I live in the Easton area. The area has changed, it's unfortunate. The police are doing an outstanding job, but rte 78 just killed the area. It has gotten a little better the last couple years though.

As far as the topic of the commuter tax? I've complained on this board about Panto increasing the EIT to 1.75%, but nothing was ever written about it. Now that some people in Forks get hit with an increase, it makes the paper. Panto is a tax and spend Mayor. He has/had an incredibly huge job, and it appears to be working a little, but enough with the he never increased taxes. My paychecks say otherwise. Easton has the highest EIT (Earned income tax) in the LEHIGH VALLEY!

I've never been shot either, and I walk in town almost every night. There are alot of good people in Easton (including the people that maybe don't speak the English language as well as you).

With that siad, one more tax or fee from the Mayor and I will official move out of the area. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

12:56 - You really have no clue do you? You should really step out once in a while and see what is actually happening in places where theaters and good restaurants. And no, I'm not talking about Regal Cinemas and Red Robin though I understand that's surely your idea of a cultural evening with your family.

Anonymous said...

2:40 - If you are scared, get a dog. It amazes me how people live life so afraid of everything. Roll up your windows? Wow. What a wuss.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sal and Fleck for another reason to stay out of the crime ridden hole you call Easton.

Sal Panto, Jr. said...

And the gutless people continue to make personal attacks behind the secrecy of Anonymous. Such cowards and they have no idea what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Excuse my lack of information, but what does NIZ stand for??
Thank you,
D.N.
Scranton