May 17, 2018
NIZ And The Allentown Budget
Budgets for Allentown show a structural deficit of 4 to 5 $million annually in the current five year projection. This is in spite of almost a $Billion dollars of publicly funded, privately owned new buildings. I believe that it is fair to say that financial data for the NIZ, at the clearest, is obscure. Although, over $33 million a year in state taxes is going for J.B. Reilly's debt service, there may be substantially more going his way. Another $30 million goes for the arena, and where Reilly's portion begins and ends is unknown. For instance, although the first floor of the arena facing Hamilton Street is considered public arena, the second floor and up belongs to Reilly. How the prorations were assigned, nobody knows. Furthermore, nobody scrutinizes the tax money distribution back to Reilly and the arena board.
What we do know is that despite all this construction and expected increase in property taxes, Allentown is in the red. If all this new construction hasn't produced a windfall, and the homeowners endure tax increases, what is the public benefit of the NIZ?