Friday, December 02, 2011

I Repeat, Allentown NID Will Deprive State of Needed Revenue

Ever read blogger Jonathan Geeting? His blog is called "Jon Geeting," and a very cool "JG" comes up on my heading whenever I look at it. That's much better than the "FU" that regularly appears on my own blog. Geeting is an expert on ... well ... everything, like most younger people.

In response to my Allentown NID story yesterday, Geeting first popped on my blog to call me stupid. I have to agree with him on that point. But then he goes one step further with a screed attempting to discredit me.

Geeting somehow buys into the fact that the Allentown NIZ will "only" cost the state treasury $10 million per year. Truth is no one knows what it will cost until the tax returns are filed in 2012 - and that's just the baseline. As development takes place, more of that state tax pie will get eaten by the Brooks Group and J. B. Reilly. Jon acts like the "sequestered" state tax dollars are going to start flowing back into the state treasury in 5 years or so. How about 30 years? By then we aren't going to be talking about forgoing a few shekels, but more like a few hundred million dollars. Regardless of how bad things get, they are still dollars.

Geeting also attempts to compare the Allentown NID with the Chrin TIF. Not even close. Under the TIF, local taxing authorities will still be getting the same revenue they are getting now, and Chrin is assuming all the risk of failure. The NID is a completely different animal that will suck local and state tax dollars for who knows how many years from 130 acres in downtown Allentown.

As for Geeting's notion that density will increase in Downtown Allentown, it will do so only for new development owned by J. B. Reilly or the Brooks Group or any other "select" developers. While the NIZ does provide for dollars that could be used to offset new development costs in the zone, the rules for their use, as Michael Molovinsky so aptly pointed out in his commentary, were only revealed after the "yellow peril" retailers were displaced. Besides, if you really read the rules and guidelines, the ACIDA - or perhaps the new "super" authority being created - can be quite arbitrary in their dispensing of NIZ dollars. ACIDA, incidentally, is the same authority that approved the lease with the Brooks Group for the Arena without even bothering to see it.

If it weren't so sad, I would laugh.

Geeting hates to be wrong nor does he ever admit that someone can have an idea that counters some of his silly notions on economic development, urban development, city planning, etc. But in the final analysis, it is pseudo-intellectual babble.

So I may be dumb, but he's dumber.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Geeting posting a comment which begins "You are dumb" is like Charles Manson posting a comment that begins "You are naughty".

-Clem

Bill Coker said...

This whole hockey arena, civic center, hotel nonsense has me going battey. The arena will host approx. 40 games, or 40 nights. Who knows what type entertainment will be gotten for another 40 nights? That's a lot in the business. Out of 365 days, that's a lot of down time.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

I just read Geetings post. He burned you in every point. Bernie do us all favor and keep to retirement homes in Northampton County. I think the funniest part about your post is that you attacked him for his age. That is exactly what the problem is with Allentown, people of your generation and Molovinsky have put us in the position we are right now. The new age of younger thinking is here and guess what!?!? We will be the generation that will take over the local government. You will be long gone as we continue to revert the errors that your generation has made.

Anonymous said...

That Geetings guy seems very bitter. One thing to disagree with you but to call you names. Forget about it.
What kind of an "adult" is that?

Anonymous said...

The new age of younger thinking is here and guess what!?!? We will be the generation that will take over the local government. You will be long gone as we continue to revert the errors that your generation has made.

3:40 AM

This is true as Father Time knows no exceptions, but you also will incurr enormous municipal debts.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

It is my understanding the school district stands to lose one hundred thousand immediately due to this project. I have no firm numbers on this, wonder if anyone does? Plan to find out.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

FDAA,

Wow! People Bernie's age have put "us" in the position we are in. Bernie has ever served on city council or in the mayor's office in the Queen City. Those who have put "us" where we are, are in fact Allentown Democrat leaders and straight D voters.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, the arena has at the very least taken 34 properties off the school tax role, which are now owned by the arena authority, and are free of school taxes. if the project fails to meet it's debt service, property taxes, including school, can then be used for that purpose. that would propel the immediate $100,000 into millions. gerald zahorchak deserved to be fired alone for not opposing this plan (he endorsed it)

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Geeting comments as to the ten million dollars in taxes that will be lost annually. Has e seen or does he have a report as to the ten million dollars of tax revenue then he should release this information, since city council or morning call have not seen this report. In the report will the ten million anually be enough to pay the bonds, if not, what does Geeting or the report project the amount of city real estate taxes will be needed to be paid toward paying off the bonds.Geeting should produce the facts.

Monkey Momma said...

"Bernie do us all favor and keep to retirement homes in Northampton County."

NO WAY - Bernie, your contributions towards documenting this arena debacle are much appreciated.

The bottom line on the arena is this: if it were such a great business plan, wouldn't the private sector have built an arena already? Without taxpayer dollars?

Jon Geeting is irrelevant to downtown Allentown. I respect his right to state his opinion, and his prolific blog provides some very interesting tidbits, but Geeting does not live here or govern here. Let's not make Geeting the issue when we're about to destroy a square block of Center City.

Likewise with folks' age. We are all young once and if we're lucky, we are all going to age. It is ridiculous to suggest that Molovinsky and his generation have put Allentown in this position. What put Allentown in this position was the collapse of the industrial sector in the USA, and the price of our real estate compared to Jersey and NY. Molovinsky's generation and their offspring have, by and large, LEFT Allentown, and for good reason.

Jon Geeting said...

I was using your number, but yes, it could be much more than $10 million. My point is that if Allentown ends up with a bunch of new high rise office buildings and thousands of new high-paying professional service jobs as a result of this tax district, who the hell cares how much revenue the state loses? I showed that there are at least $1.2 billion worth of weaker claims than this on the state budget. If you really care about the revenue, you should be arguing for closing the Delaware Loophole, a huge severance tax on Marcellus Shale, and cleaning out all the sales tax exemptions. PA also is in the top 10 most regressive tax codes in the country. Adding a progressive rate structure to the earned income tax or creating a millionaire' surtax would bring in a lot more revenue than ending development subsidies for Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

jon, so far the only jobs is the gas company relocating from bethlehem. they will occupy a slightly rehabbed building. there are no prospects for more jobs, or new buildings. if there were, pawlowski and his paid public relations outside consultant would be shouting it from the rooftops.

Anonymous said...

After reading both articles, Geeting is right about this. Bernie hates Allentown and MM only wants it to fester with it's indigenous population of immigrants and poor people. After all, we'd rather have a block of tattoo parlors and check cashing stores than a complex that attracts wallets from all over the region.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The new age of younger thinking is here and guess what!?!? We will be the generation that will take over the local government."

Yes, and most of the mistakes you make, and you will make plenty, is because you were too arrogant to listen to those who made mistakes before you, just as we were once arrogant, too.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jonathan, I have argued for closing the Delaware loophole. I do thnk big changes are need ed to our state corporate income tax. I have written about both. None of that has a damn thing to do with the stupidity of this gentrification plan to remove the "yellow peril" from downtown Allentown so that Reilly can get even richer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"After reading both articles, Geeting is right about this. Bernie hates Allentown and MM only wants it to fester with it's indigenous population of immigrants and poor people. After all, we'd rather have a block of tattoo parlors and check cashing stores than a complex that attracts wallets from all over the region."

You simplistically state that I hate Allentown and MM only wants the city to fester with its indigenous population of immigrants and poor people. Wow, a more racist statement couldn't be made by a Nazi skinhead! The not so subtle references to "urban renewal / economic development genocide" - move them out so we can attract "wallets from around the region" - only makes my points and MM's too.

The answer is to help the indigenous population of immigrants and poor people become part of rthe middle class - just like generations of others did before them. The middle class left Allentown a long time ago. It will take generations to bring them back, but it will also take more rational allocations of scarce public subsidies to make that happen. The questions being raised relate to the whole issue of public funding "triage." Where do we need to spend the money to save the greatest number of people and businesses? Just think what the specific allocation of $10 or 20 million dollars a year would mean to the Allentown School District or to helping fund more police or housing programs in Allentown. The Chamber of Commerce rhetoric of focusing on the downtown - while the neighborhoods deteriorate, the middle class flees the city, and the demographics continue to decline into the abyss of abject long term poverty - is exactly who Allentown got into the mess they are in. Allentown always focused on Hamilton Street and the CBD as the answer to all of its problems. A strong downtown office and shopping area would carry the neighborhoods with it. What we have found is it is exactly the opposite. If the neighborhoods stay strong around the business district - see Bethlehem and its Historic District - the downtown will thrive and grow. Allentown hasn't learned from its mistakes or its history.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I have argued for closing the Delaware loophole. I do thnk big changes are need ed to our state corporate income tax. I have written about both. None of that has a damn thing to do with the stupidity of this gentrification plan to remove the "yellow peril" from downtown Allentown so that Reilly can get even richer.

What a joke. Have you ever been to an actual city, Bernie? Commerce can exist in downtowns without effecting the residents. Every city core is about commerce, tourism, and recreation. Your claims of "yellow peril" are ludicrous and is a desperate attempt by you and MM to make said commerce appear racist.

Anonymous said...

move them out so we can attract "wallets from around the region" - only makes my points and MM's too.

Bwahahahaha. As if every major city core doesn't operate exactly the same way. We can all coexist you know. And right on cue, you make it a racist issue. Of course you do.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the funding of education and the poor is over. That has been ensured by Republican sympathizers and tax cutters above all else like yourself. Look in the mirror.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:31,

It's affecting, not effecting.

As for playing the race card, I would not do that if you did not make racist remarks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"By the way, the funding of education and the poor is over. That has been ensured by Republican sympathizers and tax cutters above all else like yourself. Look in the mirror."

Actually, you can cut taxes while still providing for education and the poor. The way we fund these programs needs to be done more efficiently so that we maximize our investment, instead of just throwing money at people.

So I can look myself in the mirror just fine, thank you.

What about you? Alk you are doing is helping a few rich people get richer in the vain hope that it might generate a few trickle down jobs for ticket takers and fry cooks. Isn't that trickle down?

Amazingly, at the same time you do that, you cut funding to a program in Bethlehem that s generating real jobs that actually can support a family.

Anonymous said...

The thing I notice most about Geeting's postings is he is very quick at spending other people's money without weighing the consequences.

Anonymous said...

The agenda of What-Am-I-Gettings-From-Big-Government? sucks.

Anonymous said...

Just like the mafia, they cleaned out what was there and plan to replace it with their business. It's ironic that minority businesses were kicked out to make room for the whitest white guy sport. In all fairness, hockey has made the city of Reading the shimmering pearl of the northeast.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, remember: people who value their lives don't go to Allentown after dark. Coca Cola Park is easily accessible and practically in Bethlehem. It doesn't require risking life and limb to go into center city Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Mama,

While it is true that Allentown has suffered from industrial setbacks keep in mind we still hold the county seat, have three hospitals and two colleges in or close to the downtown. That is a lot of jobs within walking and biking distance from center city. Sadly because of its current state few people (who can afford to choose) care to live there and fewer people care to visit. This is the fault of those charged with maintaining these neighborhoods. That would be our elected officials. Allentown's downtown real estate should be a goldmine.Instead it is in ruin.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Armstrong makes the perfect illustration on why we need to develop the city core and bring wallets back into town.