Saturday, January 28, 2012

PA State Legislators Who Sign On to KOZ Tax Exemptions for Gas Industry Need Booted

It's not so astonishing that Pennsylvania state legislators are formulating yet another tax-exemption special for somebody other than the citizen-taxpayers. Residents, homeowners, property owners, and small businesses are still awaiting action on the promise of many who years ago vowed during campaigns for election to "eliminate" real estate property taxes for all once and for all.

Meanwhile, the Keystone Opportunity Zones that began to be designated back in 1999, so-necessary for a limited time - only ten years according to advocates - have been expanded and extended several times since. Many existing sites are so-designated as tax-free zones beyond 2015.

When will the Keystone Opportunity Zones be gone? Apparently, never. The program never quite fufils its goal, does it? That is, Pennsylvania will always need to enable tax forgiveness for some period of time to attract some small business and big business to PA, that's what proponents apparently believe.

Meanwhile, the local municipalities, school districts, and counties that choose to waive property taxes for the KOZ inhabitants, and more, for up to 15 years have yet to decrease spending for the same amount of years, thus, the taxation is spread to the same citizen-taxpayers and small businesses who are barely making headway.

But the Gas Industry and Marcellus Shale ventures - tax-free for 15 years?

One has to wonder. It's election time. Who are these legislators courting? Not the little home and property owner. They've broken promises to totally eliminate property taxes for all.

It is time to throw them all out of office this time around in Primary Elections across Pennsylvania.

Legislative Detail: PA Senate Bill 1237 - 2011-2012 Regular Session

Senate Bill 1237

November 3, 2011 In the News, Newsroom
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Gas drillers’ supply chain drives jobs Joe Napsha

The latest is Valerus Compression Services LP of Houston, Texas, which opened a $4 million service center on Wednesday at the Fayette Business Park off Route 43 in Smithfield.

Valerus is one of about 175 companies in 10 counties that are part of the region’s natural gas supply chain, said Dewitt Peart, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an economic development group that is working to get more of those companies to move permanently to the region.

Valerus Compression worked in the region’s gas fields for two years before deciding it needed a local home. Valerus looked at about 10 sites before selecting the Smithfield location, which is close to drilling activity, said Daniel Cannon, senior vice president of North American operations. Its new center in Smithfield industrial park is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which offers businesses reduced state and local taxes.

Pennsylvania, two neighbors neighbors vie to procure 'cracker' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Timothy Puko, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, January 29, 2012

There's a whirlwind of competition swirling among Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia for the chance to start a new generation of industry and manufacturing.

Governors jetting off to Houston. State legislation on the fast track. Big tax breaks to be offered for 15 years in one state and 25 years in another.

Pennsylvania eyes tax deals to lure Shell's 'ethane cracker' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review By Timothy Puko, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, January 28, 2012

Big businesses could be in line for millions of dollars in new tax breaks in Pennsylvania under legislation that may be critical in the state's bid to best Ohio and West Virginia for a petrochemicals plant.

The bill has quietly moved toward passage as state officials court Royal Dutch Shell plc, which plans to spend as much as $4 billion to build an "ethane cracker" in the tri-state area. The plant would create several hundred jobs.

Senate Bill 1237 would expand Keystone Opportunity Zones, special areas that grant businesses broad tax cuts, credits and exemptions to spur economic development. Businesses that invest at least $1 billion and create at least 400 permanent, full-time jobs would get an extra five years of tax breaks -- 15 years in all -- with more breaks for manufacturing and processing businesses, under provisions in the bill.

"By far, (Keystone Opportunity Zones are) a huge competitive advantage for the commonwealth when companies are looking at Pennsylvania," said Steve Kratz, spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development. "The first thing they say to our program office is that 'we're interested in Keystone Opportunity Zones.' "

The Corbett administration supports the legislation because it generally supports the Keystone Opportunity Zones as a way to pump investment into struggling areas that otherwise might not attract it, Kratz said. He declined to discuss what the state has offered Shell.

State leaders have closely guarded their talks with Shell. Offering a sweetened Keystone Opportunity Zone is probably the best way to compete with Ohio and West Virginia, several former state economic officials said.

SB 1237 would allow for 15 new zone expansions statewide. Billion-dollar investors would get an extra five years of no taxes, and manufacturing and processing businesses would get new breaks on state corporate income and capital stock franchise taxes.

Read more: Pennsylvania eyes tax deals to lure Shell's 'ethane cracker' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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