Back in the fall, when it was discovered that J.B. Reilly was loaned $20 million under the same terms as the arena, and that taxes would be used for his debt service, and before the rules to apply were formulated and publicly announced, Pat Browne said "I'm not sure why anyone is confused. The law is very clear." Yes, this is the same Pat Browne whose campaign brochure touts reducing the size of government, and sponsored the Taxpayer Transparency Act. Scott Kraus and Matt Assad, of The Morning Call, have reported* that various professional fiscal managers in the surrounding townships, have been caught off-guard by the NIZ wrinkles. Bethlehem's business administrator said, "What? That's crazy....we're not getting money we already included in this year's budget." Upper Milford's manager said "Our bread and butter is that Earned Income Tax. Any amount we lose is significant to us." Pat Browne's reply to the beleaguered administrators: "I'm not sure why anyone is confused. The law is very clear." This blogger has maintained, contrary to the patter coming out of the mouths of Pawlowski and Browne, that every dollar going toward these NIZ projects will have to be made up by the taxpayers, somewhere, somehow. Pat Browne says, "There is naturally going to be some adjustment, But we're talking about rebuilding the urban core of Lehigh County. The benefits to everyone, including the suburban municipalities, are going to be well worth the adjustments we have to go through to get there."
Senator Browne, those benefits remain to be seen. For someone who sponsored The Taxpayer Transparency Act, you sure can move those shells around fast.
*Taxing question:Arena tab extends beyond Allentown/by Scott Kraus and Matt Assad/The Morning Call/January 22, 2012