Thursday, June 21, 2012

State Lawmakers To Fix NIZ

According to The Morning Call, and as first reported here last week, state lawmakers will finally address township concerns over Allentown's controversial Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ). That currently includes a funding scheme that diverts township EIT to pay for a hockey arena and other projects. It has led to litigation in Commonwealth Court.

The tax grab will be removed, as the townships asked.

The NIZ will be redefined, as the townships asked, so that it is no longer a closed class that could only ever apply to Allentown.

So much for the threatened countersuit.


70 comments:

Anonymous said...

Allentown still wins.. but convicted criminals/trolls will still lose.

http://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/MDJReport.aspx?district=MDJ-31-1-02&docketNumber=MJ-31102-NT-0001349-2006

Anonymous said...

"Peace in out time"

Hopefully everybody is a bit unhappy but suffiently satisfied to move on.

Anonymous said...

just what does this mean?

Anonymous said...

Racists win! Allentown loses!

Anonymous said...

That is about the ONLY thing folks in the suburbs will celebrate in regards to the Corbett Proposal.

Anonymous said...

This still doesn't address the issue of state income tax money and tobacco money that should be going to Harrisburg and spent throughout the state now staying in Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Does not address the poaching issue and the complete disruption of the commercial real estate market that will result. All one needs to do is look around the valley at all the retail and office park vacancies that currently exist. Wake up. Stroll through south mall or tour the industrial parks.

Anonymous said...

Allentown wins....suburbs win.

Anonymous said...

The allentown homeowner and taxpayer is the real loser in this. Their eit will be diverted to the NIZ to a tune of approx $332k per year. That leaves a $332k hole in the general fund which will need to be made up by the allentown taxpayer. Any new revenue generated by the niz goes back to the niz, not the Allentown general fund.

Anonymous said...

This is a giant loss for the suburbs. They could have chosen to share in the 1% development fund (along with the returned EIT) which would have meant gabs of money over the 30-years but didn't--on principle. The yokels running the burbs got this thing so wrong they don't even know when to grab free money. Absolutely pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Continuing on my last point. Not only that, but they now delayed the start of the hockey season for a year. They didn't need to do that. They could have had a better deal than this--without paying massive lawyer's fees, without delaying the start of the hockey seasons, and without so much angst if they would have played in good faith back in April. Once again, I repeat, the offer made by Allentown back then was a sweeter deal than what they are getting here. Stupid.

Anonymous said...

stupid is describing the money as "free".

Anonymous said...

Sweeter deal for whom?
absolutely pathetic.

Anonymous said...

8:21 & 8:25, You don't get it. The suburbs as you like to assert will not lose on the developer’s fees. If you recall Allentown was not willing to guarantee payments. If they truly believed that their scheme will work, an Arena will bring people back to the City, Hizzhoner should have put the City on the hook. Sounds like someone in City Hall posted at 8:21 and 8:25 because as usual they only tell ½ the story.

The Arena will not save Allentown, the developers fee would have been meaningless, the only loser in any deal that allows the Arena to be built is the City of Allentown Taxpayers.

Slick Ed will go down as the Mayor who bankrupted Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Allentown is still the biggest loser in the budget deal. The mayor will have $335,000 hole to fill in the City of Allentown’s budget that will continue to grow. The Allentown School District will have a similar hole.

With all the budget struggles in the State how can Governor Corbett sit idle as Allentown STEALS cigarette taxes and state income tax money?

The local legislators need to strip everything out of the deal as it relates to the diversion of any tax revenue that benefits private developers.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

One gaping hole filled, another one opened.

Allentown's funding stream over the next 30 years has a NEW void to fill.

Anonymous said...

The deal back in April was "sweeter" for the suburbs. They were offered exactly what they get with the legislative amendment (i.e. keep the EIT) AND 1% of all development money that flows into the NIZ. That was the offer. The suburbs, for whatever their reasons chose to forgo that development money--which--yeah--was essentially free. This legislative outcome is worse for them than if they would have taken the deal. It's black and white.

Anonymous said...

Yup, let's just say it straight up. The townships fought and lost. At least some lawyers made some bank.

Anonymous said...

Every new project in the NIZ continues to pay its real estate taxes (city, county, and School district). That hole in their budget is going to more than replaced with RE taxes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Yup, let's just say it straight up. The townships fought and lost"

They are getting exactly what they complained about in court, but keep telling yourself that.

Anonymous said...

to echo 8:55,

ASD real estate taxes will more than make up for any loss of EIT. if there is $500 million of new taxable development, the additional tax revenue should be a min. of $6.5 million.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The deal back in April was "sweeter" for the suburbs"

You don't get it. They don't care for "deals" with Pawlowski, whose administration straight up lied to them. And you can't make a deal with a law that is unconstitutional.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"ASD real estate taxes will more than make up for any loss of EIT"

I doubt very much there will be a change authorizing the use of RE taxes. The revenue garnered by other state taxes will be more than enough to pay for this.

Anonymous said...

That is a big IF there, is it not, Anon 9:11?

Exactly how many millions of new taxable development did Coca-Cola Park bring in?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Retired ASD, I do not believe the removal of EIT creates another gaping hole. The amount of money generated by state income and sales taxes is going to be more than enough to pay for the debt incurred.

Anonymous said...

Let's just say it straight up.

I'm NEVER buying tickets to Chairman Pawlowski's Palace of Sport.

The NIZ Cheerleaders are free to gloat all they like, however.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Does not address the poaching issue and the complete disruption of the commercial real estate market that will result. "

That's true, but the removal of the EIT developer should slow JB Reilly down a bit and prevent him from offering discounted rents as steep as I had been told.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The link at 2:19 AM lists a disorderly conduct conviction of Rolf Oeler. From 2006. What a shocking revealation!

This is what Pawlowski sycophants do. Instead of arguing a matter on its merits, they launch personal attacks and lie.

Anonymous said...

hahaha.. "They don't care for 'deals'" and they will waste their citizen's money on frivolous lawsuits on "principle." Maybe it is OK to run your personal life like that--but when you represent tens-of-thousands of people as an elected official you do what is objectively best for your citizens. Playing games and not taking money on "principle" or because you personally dislike the person who is giving you the free money is ABSURD. These suburban guys fell down on the job big time. At least they have you, Bernie, to spin it the other way.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's more than principle, although that is certainly part of it. They were unwilling to make a deal for the following additional reasons: (1) the City was unwilling to guarantee the agreement; (2) it is an end-run around the law, and could be considered void as against public policy; (3) they don't trust Pawlowski to keep his word, and have reason not to trust him.

They sought two things. They wanted the diversion of EIT stopped. They wanted the law changed to address constitutional concerns.

Looks like they're getting both.

ironpigpen said...

Wow!

The cheap shots come flying in before I, or anyone else for that matter, even bother to comment.

I always knew those NIZ Cheerleader Warriors were just so cool and all, but I had no idea they were all THAT ...

I sure hope the success of Chairman Pawlowski's magnificent $ 220.0 million dollar Palace of Sport will not be depending upon ME to purchasing tickets to watch minor league heavyweights throw haymakers on Hamilton Street.

And no, I don't think the Palace will be drawing anywhere near the 2.5 million people annually that the Chairman has boasted in public previously.

But, have fun showing the world my disorderly conduct deal and I sincerely hope it makes you all feel much better now.

Sincerely,

ROLF OELER

ironpigpen said...

Why do the NIZ Cheerleaders fear me so much, Mr. O'Hare?

How many people do you think Chairman Pawlowski has assigned to dig up dirt on me and make my life as miserable as possible --- five or six?

ROLF OELER

Bernie O'Hare said...

They're a nasty bunch.

Dave said...

Power to the people! Now..do we sue Atown for the money we had to lay out to fight this thing? Fruitless right..blood from a stone?

Anonymous said...

Pat Browne, Lehigh Valley's worst legislator ever? Whether he's an idiot or slick politician, he should have known about the consequences of the EIT and the legality of the legislation he wrote.

He's got to be in the conversation now.

I've never thought Allentown was the real bad guy in all this, just the desperate pawn.

I blame Reilly and Browne for the mess before Allentown. The City was working from the position both those men put them in. After all the City bulldozed an entire city block because of their decisions and reassurances.

Pawlowski's personality certainly didn't help things along because I think Pawlowski's first response to any discord is to be defensive and take it personally. He's a hothead and it doesn't help that his economic development person is equally tempered.

Different personality in the mayor's office probably changes how the whole thing played out a bit too.

Dave said...

Sometimes..the little guy wins one.

Anonymous said...

It is my contention that these NIZ Cheerleader clowns need a history lesson.

Chairman Pawlowski and his crew remind me of the notorious Butcher, BANASTRE TARLETON, and those nasty Green Dragoons with oh-so-fashionable hats.

It's one thing to win an engagement on the battlefield and slaughter prisoners who trying to surrender. Occupation of the captured territory is quite another matter altogether. To speak nothing of getting the local indigenous population to actually and obediently do whatever the Rulers want.

Particularly when your reputation sucks already.

How much do these must-have tickets to the transformative Palace of Sport cost again?

FRANCIS MARION

Anonymous said...

The NIZ is still 130 acres. That is the most important part of the equation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:08 says, "free money".

Free?

Really, now.

What more do I need to know about the People's Democratic City With No Spending Limits as well as the people who blindly and foolishly support the powers that be?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave, Pennsylvania follows the "American rule" regarding attorney fees. The winner is NOT entitled to attorney fees absent specific staty=utory authorization. And technically, although you're getting what you wanted, there will be no judgment or court order saying you were right.

Anonymous said...

It's definitely FREE MONEY the way WE see it.

Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts, Pennsylvania Taxpayers!

Please buy lots of tickets to watch our exciting minor league hockey team. The more expensive, the better. Feel free to take out a Pay Day Loan if that is what is necessary to make it all happen.

Again, thanks so much everyone.

Sincerely,

THE BROOKS BROTHERS

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that Reilly's new hotel won't have to pay hotel tax to Lehigh County? If not, then his new arena hotel will have a market advantage over all other LV hotels who must charge their guests for the tax . That's poaching too, isn't it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe he will be exempt from paying hotel tax and will have an unfair competitive edge.

Anonymous said...

Looks the troll is back... keep it up Rolf.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the troll is back... keep it up Rolf. How many posts can you make today?

Anonymous said...

Now we can get on with minority cancer removal in Allentown. They really are unsightly and stink in the heat.

Allentown Progressive

ironpigpen said...

How many would you like, Courageous Anonymous 12:14?

You gotta a funny way of convincing me to buy overpriced tickets to see minor league heavyweights throw haymakers on Hamilton Street.

;-)

ironpigpen said...

"PERMANENT DAMAGE TO PHANTOMS PRODUCT LABEL?"

coming soon ... http://www.goironpigs.com

-------------

Keep getting in my face, NIZ Cheerleaders ...

monkey momma said...

The morning call states, "Browne would not discuss details of the proposed solution, but some legislators say an example of a fix could open the law to "all Third Class cities with populations above 105,000." That would fix the constitutional problem without creating new such zones across the state. Currently, only Erie, with a population of less than 102,000, is close."

It seems to me this proposed fix on the unconstitutional special legislation aspect is not a solution at all. It still limits the number of applicable cities to exactly one. And, as far as I understand it, that means the law is unconstitutional.

At any rate, I am glad the state is looking at this issue again. I do not particularly want to see a gaping hole in Allentown for the rest of my life. An arena is probably the worst way to develop this property, though.

I guess we'll see what happens when the budget is passed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Monkey Momma,

The scenario you read would pass constitutional muster. It is not a closed class. It is conceivable that some other municipality could eventually qualify, however unlikely. But the NIZ legislation, as drafted, could only ever apply to Allentown.

Read the opinion of the AG on a similar measure .

http://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2012/04/is-niz-law-unconstitutional.html

Anonymous said...

In the NIZ, the user/tenant pays all taxes it would normally pay. Reilly’s hotel would still have to pay all taxes (hotel tax). In the KOZ, a user is exempt from paying taxes.

Anonymous said...

I guess Future Downtown Allentown Attendee would be attending any hockey games in Allentown within a year or two?

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

Yes I will. Then I will post as CurrentDowntownArenaAttendee...

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when you win, you really lose.

And sometimes when you lose, you really win.

Only time (and the debt service payments) will tell how high the Palace of Sport can actually jump.

Anonymous said...

FDAA,

You really are persistent. Only 14 minutes passed since you penned a response. Watch out for black helicopters ...

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:52, You are correct. i was informed of this back channel by someone who knows this better than I. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Is this the website where I sign up to receive my complimentary Phantoms tickets paid for by "free money" that came out of some other Pennsylvania citizen's pocket?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Nick Naylor said...

Why are the excise taxes on gas, malt, and cigarettes being overlooked? There are now two cigarette wholesalers in the NIZ. We're looking at adding a brewery to distribute from and we already have a gasoline distributor. Do we honestly believe other similar business owners are not considering the same move?

PA collects near $1.1 Billion in cigarette taxes per year, to say nothing of the sales tax on the same item. We live in the 3rd largest area of the State. What if a mere 5% of that per year is no longer in the already short PA budget?

In PA, beer distributors (not brewers) may not have trucks, but cigarette and gas d's haul all over the State. Why wouldn't others move here? Why is revenue or other Senators or Representatives not concerned about the fleecing that will occur at the hands of current collections and future growth, let alone inflation?

Most legislators don't realize the magnitude of these excise taxes and the broad scope of things that are funded by them. Guess which politician heads the department more in tune with these taxes than any other?

FutureDowntownArenaAvoidee said...

Boycotts are difficult, but this one will be easy. Then, I will sign as CurrentDowntownArenaAvoidee.

Anonymous said...

No one cares if you will boycott it. There are 820,000 people in the Lehigh Valley.... Attendance won't be an issue for a Flyers affiliate that is only one hour north of the parent team. All the haters reference Reading(which is a level below the Phantoms). But they never mention Hershey. Why do they not? Because it has the highest attendance year after year in the whole league averaging over 9,000. Sound familiar? Do the Ironpigs ring a bell. If anything is wrong with the arena is that it maybe slightly too small. All the haters and trolls can stomp their feet and hold their breathe like children. You are only hurting yourself. No one cares.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am no hockey fan and won't be there. But I hope it succeeds and wish Allentown success. You're due. Just don't try to steal any tax money due to other municipalities.

Anonymous said...

ASD screwed out of $1million in year one. Add 4.5 millin deficit. F**k the kids, hockey is king. Eh Pud!

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Bernie, problem is, to make this all work, monies once dedicated to other (presumably essential) purposes will now be spent only here. Spent primarily to provide a hockey venue, and also some instant equity for chosen private citizens.

Life is good in Pennsylvania, I guess.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Oh, I agree that it is still an irresponsible thing to do with limited state tax resources, and would never support it. But I was even more offended by the outright theft of EIT, the secrecy,the condescending attitude towards other municipalities, the poaching and an unconstitutional law.

The state legislation will address two of these concerns, the one raised by the Townshis in their suit. That effectively ends what can be done legally.

The only remedy for the other transgressions is at the ballot box.

Bernie O'Hare said...

But i do hope it succeeds.

ironpigpen said...

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

No on 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 - June 21, 2012

---------

It's about the spending, as I've said from the beginning ... Big Government has absolutely no business building Potemkin Palaces of Sport.

ironpigpen said...

"no one has spent more"

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Gotta agree, Bernie. I am pleased my township (Lower Saucon) officials had the courage to fight to retain what is rightfully ours. We seem to have won on that account.

Now, about the validity of my state tax contribution amount?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"Stadiums tend to not be good neighbors at developing the areas around them," said Victor Matheson, who teaches sports economics at the College of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

People are often 'grasping at straws' when they turn to such venues in hopes of spurring economic gains in depressed communities, he said."

"SOCCER DENYING IMPOVERISHED CITY SHOWS STADIUM RISK"

by Romy Varghese ... 6/21/2012 ... www.bloomberg.com