J.B. Reilly and Joe Topper have purchased a cigarette distributorship and moved the business address to their 702 Hamilton Street address. This maneuver allows their company, City Center Own Allentown, to use the $1.60 per pack Pennsylvania cigarette tax toward the debt service on their growing empire. Perhaps this was the conflict of interest which propelled Reilly to resign his position on the hospital board. One would like to think that tobacco taxes are used for health care, not private enrichment.
UPDATE: The above is reprinted from February of 2012. The cigarette loophole proved enormously lucrative. Instead of relying on employee taxes poached from other places in Lehigh Valley, the NIZ barons could now build more and more buildings, funded by smokers everywhere. While originally building just for the poached businesses, it allowed the barons to start building on speculation. The Jaindl Company, now following that successful game plan, is also purchasing a cigarette wholesaler. This means that instead of tenants waiting for completion, we will have new empty buildings waiting for tenants. It gets much worse if we use a moral compass. The cigarette taxes had been used to fund CHIP, children's health insurance, and other health related programs. A large portion of those funds now go to finance these privately owned real estate empires. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? In the last election for state representatives, seven of the eleven incumbents were unopposed. They are, to a person, inept and complacent. Of course, the dirt dumb voters also deserve credit.