Include Bethlehem in Any NIZ Expansion

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Looks like state lawmakers want to expand the Neighborhood Improvement Zone district concept to other cities, but the population range they’re thinking of would leave out Bethlehem Erie, Reading, and Scranton. That’s terrible, they shouldn’t bracket it at 70,000. Just leave the original 110,000 resident cut-off the same, and let any third class city use it.

Matt Assad and Scott Kraus:

If Smucker’s legislation passes, Schreiber and other economic developers whose towns are on a short list of Pennsylvania cities with populations between 40,000 to 70,000, as deemed eligible in the legislation — Altoona, York, Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre and Harrisburg — would get their chance.

“We came up with the population limits by looking at two of the cities I was most interested in helping in counties I represent,” Smucker said, referring to Lancaster and York.

A top official in Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration signaled last week that he’s open to the idea.

“The governor is looking at if this could be a creative urban development plan,” Revenue Secretary Dan Meuser said after a speech at DeSales University in Center Valley. “Of course you have to weigh the pros and the cons, the cost and the benefit. Anything we are looking at right now would be revenue-neutral,” meaning the state loses no tax dollars.

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