2008 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2008 16:07:23 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
TIF for Martin Tower is corporate welfare

Opinion by
Allentown Morning Call (PA)
March 13, 2008

"To me, this request violates the intent and spirit of the TIF law, 
since the problems exist within a specific building in a specific site."

The Pennsylvania Tax Financing Act of 1990 was enacted to encourage 
development of otherwise neglected brownfields and blighted areas. It 
puts the collected taxes from the site into escrow accounts to pay back 
loans or bonds which would finance the development, guaranteeing 
developers financial protection. With completion of the project, a new, 
higher assessment would increase the taxes received and hasten the 
payback. This could be up to 20 years.

The Bethworks project is an excellent example of a TIF district. The 
abandoned Bethlehem Steel site in South Bethlehem is one of the largest, 
if not the largest, brownfield in the country. Since the declining 
(eventually bankrupt) steel company could not redevelop the deteriorated 
site, a request for a TIF district was in order. The city has gained by 
this TIF with the improved infrastructure of roads, utilities and sewage 


For the entire column, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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