Friday, April 17, 2009

PA: KOZ still unfair amid broken promises job creation

What do proponents of tax-forgiveness for some fail every time to reveal?

While a select few don't have to pay up on annual local property tax-bills for some amount of years (in the name of economic development) don't face:

foreclosure on property because monies are freed up to pay mortgages on other property

property tax-sale for inability to pay the assessed taxes

And the worst drawback to this scheme of tax-forgiveness for some on real-estate property?

those not located in a KOZ must pay for everybody who is in a KOZ because the costs of government at any level continuously go what? UP.

The Herald Standard article quotes some $81,000 that will come due from the KOZ properties within the Laurel Highlands School District jurisdiction.

Get real. Does that sound like a lot to anybody with half-a-brain? On all of the properties located in a KOZ now or for the next 7 years, after the expiration of KOZ in one of the most upscale area of the entire county, only an $81,000 return in the future?

Maybe it was a misprint?

The idea of the KOZ status was initially proposed to draw big business to Fayette County and the municipalities within the county. New employers were supposed to create hundreds upon hundreds of well-paying new jobs.

Those jobs were supposed to attract outside the area new residents. Residents who would want either existing housing or to build new.

Those residents in turn would stimulate the local economy and move families into the area during the time the big business was receiving the tax-freedom for creating jobs.

That hasn't exactly worked out as intended.

Local businesses already established have in most cases simply moved operations to a KOZ. A few came from another part of the country like Duke Energy in another area of Fayette but employs less than a dozen persons.

Not exactly the hundreds upon hundreds promised.

And when the program was pitched around the country, the proponents offered 10-years should be enough time to get things going.

That soon changed a mere couple years later and extensions seem to have been the wave of the future.

When will KOZ end?

Not in our lifetimes. Unless people go to the other boards the municipal government and county commissioners, this won't end for another 7 years.

At the same time, if even one homeowner or business goes bust or has to relinquish property for failure to pay local property taxes while another doesn't have to pay because of location in a tax-free KOZ, what does that say about the idea of equality and tax fairness?

Reject the KOZs. Missing from any report is how much the state government has forked over to Fay-Penn to provide aid to these same companies in the form of grants and low interest loans.

While the national economy and local economies are burning out, at some point necessitating even larger increase in taxation, some don't have to pay.

They don't have to fear losing home or business while others may.

Not only is that unfair, it's unconscionable.

Net the Truth Online

Laurel Highlands board OKs KOZ program
By Christine Haines, Herald-Standard
Updated 04/17/2009 02:15:36 AM EDT
Email to a friendPost a CommentPrinter-friendly
The Laurel Highlands School Board Thursday approved a Keystone Opportunity Zone that includes the University Technology Park, the Fayette Business Park and another 100 acres in North Union Township.

"New businesses that come in are given a tax break for up to seven years," said Dr. Gary Brain, the district superintendent.

Brain said the policy is paying off for the district, with businesses previously given the tax break expected to contribute $81,000 in taxes to the district in 2013 when their tax break ends. Brain said that the district benefits from the KOZ program through the creation of jobs even before the district begins to realize additional property taxes.

Brain noted that North Union Township and the Fayette County Commissioners must approve the new KOZ before it goes into effect.

The board also voted to put $500,000 into the capital reserve fund, bringing that fund to $1 million. Brain said that between the capital reserve fund and stimulus money from the government, the district should be in good shape for upcoming building renovation projects.

School director Tom Vernon reported that the finance committee will meet at 8 a.m. on April 24 to start putting together the 2009-10 budget...

No comments: