Jul 20, 2016

Browne and Reilly Cheat Allentown Taxpayers

Yesterday, Matt Assad of the Morning Call revealed that local state senator Pat Browne essentially amended the state NIZ rules, in favor of his friend J.B. Reilly's current court case.  It always seemed as if the NIZ was designed as a personal business plan for Reilly.  However, Browne's latest revision makes no pretense of the relationship.   Pat Browne has now taken Reilly's tax appeal defense, and codified it into law. The new NIZ rules restrict assessment of properties to an income basis only,  ignoring construction cost. There is something extra judicial about this end run that should be challenged by the county.

The taxpayers of Allentown are in real ways subsidizing the Reilly Real Estate Empire. We are providing extra police downtown. We are paying $2 an hour to park. The old lady used to ask, Where's the beef?  We ask, Where's the taxes?

I have been on Morning Call reporter Matt Assad's case,  accusing him of writing articles promoting Reilly's real estate interests.  I must acknowledge that it is his article that has made this latest Browne/Reilly shenanigan public.


Geoff said...

It would be interesting to hear from a legal type about what sort of standing/approach Lehigh County could use to challenge the assessment provisions. I hope there is one.

Unfortunately, these horses have long since left the barn, and if a legislative body is willing to sign on to the policy preferences of one member to get a budget done, there seems little that could be done.

Browne's quotes--both in this article and the one today on the ANZIDA/city relationship--indicate that Browne himself seems to believe he's quite the expert on local/county level taxation and governance. Not to mention how many hotel rooms should be in each municipality of Pennsylvania.

michael molovinsky said...

geoff@5:03, my writing has been described as succinct, but there are actually many layers to this legal onion. lawyers have told me that it is beyond extraordinary to retrofit a law to conform with someone's legal defense. however, if the county has the will to challenge remains to be seen. as for the legislative body signing on, i don't if any members even knew of its inclusion.

IMO, we are not well served on any level of government.

Jamie Kelton said...

The problem is Mr Molovinsky, who is going to stop this charade?

I don't see anyone in Harrisburg that is really interested in how the NIZ funding is being manipulated. Browne is slipping these amendments through the legislature without objection, probably though the good ole boy network of don't rain on my parade, and I won't rain on yours.

Is Lehigh Country going to do anything? I doubt it also. As long as the money flows into the NIZ like water in a river, Lehigh County isn't going to do anything.

And neither is Ed for as long as he is in office. Nor his successor either.

And the concrete keeps being poured and the steel keeps going up

Jamie Kelton said...

And guess who owns the buildings? Not the taxpayer.

george schaller said...

In the federal indictments served, there is names as well as public official #3 who and what subordanant to this circus is public official #1 and #2?!
Thanx for asking!

Jojo said...

Just to complete the circle is there any way to know how much funding Mr. Reilly contributed to Mr. Browne's election? How do we find this out? What's Mr. Browne's angle will he be hired on by Mr. Reilly after he leaves office?