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Teplitz: Harrisburg Excluded from New Economic Development Program
On June 30, 2013
HARRISBURG, June 30, 2013 — State Sen. Rob Teplitz today decried a Senate Republican-led effort to deprive the City of Harrisburg of a unique opportunity to revitalize underdeveloped areas.
A measure has been amended into the Tax Code bill associated with the 2013-14 state budget (House Bill 465) to authorize City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (CRIZ) for eligible smaller municipalities.
The CRIZ would authorize the investment of state and local tax revenues generated in designated zones within local communities for projects that revitalize eligible vacant, blighted and/or abandoned properties for commercial, exhibition, hospitality, conference, retail community and mixed-use purposes.
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However, the measure places limitations on which third-class cities can even compete for participation in the program. It explicitly excludes third-class cities in receivership, and Harrisburg is the only municipality in the state that falls in this category.
“This is nothing more than a shameful political tactic that would not only deprive the city of this opportunity, but hurt the entire region that is affected by the city’s financial condition,” said Teplitz (D-Dauphin/York). “There is no legitimate substantive reason to deprive Harrisburg from even being allowed to apply to participate in the program and one must wonder about the motivation of excluding it from the CRIZ.
“I represent the Capital city, but all state lawmakers have a vested interest and should care about this city because it’s where we spend our time governing and it’s where many of our staff and tens of thousands of state workers live, work and shop. Instead, Republican leadership is making an effort to deprive Harrisburg of even the slightest chance of much-needed assistance. It’s offensive to me and to this entire region.”
Teplitz offered an amendment on the Senate floor to remove the explicit exclusion of Harrisburg and to include all third-class cities plus the City of Scranton. The amendment failed along party lines.
House Bill 465 must now be considered by the full Senate.