Pennsylvania’s Community Revitalization & Improvement Zone is meant to leverage hundreds of millions of dollars toward new development for communities.
It’s off to a slow start. The program is new, officials say, some kinks are expected, and working them out could make all the difference.
But to state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, there are a couple things that just don’t make sense.
So, just a week or so after a report on first year’s lackluster results came out, the Lancaster County Republican wants to double-check the state Department of Revenue’s math.
“Those figures, they don’t really square with what we see happening on the local level,” Smucker says.
Enviable turned underwhelming
Smucker pushed CRIZ shortly after Allentown got its Neighborhood Improvement Zone.
CRIZ works like this: the state and local government together figure out how much non-property tax revenue is generated in a designated area (the zone) the year a city’s accepted into the program. However much tax revenue is produced on top of that every year thereafter — for three decades — is available to investment in city development. Exactly how to use the extra revenue (called the increment) is up to a local board appointed to oversee the CRIZ.
Everyone wanted a CRIZ when the program launched in 2013. Only Lancaster and Bethlehem got one during the first round. The borough of Tamaqua, Schuylkill County got one in 2014 and will get its first increment next year. More designations are expected next year.