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Dare Inquire Representatives Truth




In graphology, the study of handwriting, the trait of going suddenly rightward in a given letter, usually the d, is called the "Maniac d" and it means maniacal behavior.

Unfortunately, there is no way of determining whether such behavior is indicated from the mere signature of state legislators who crafted legislation to allow for Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ)and local municipal supervisors, school board members, and county commissioners who signed on to the 100 percent tax abatement program for business and residential property owners located in the KOZ.

Knowledge is power, as we all understand. Read all of the information following on this webpage. Ask yourself these questions: Will legislators create a special classification for me so that I don't have to pay any local taxes? Will legislators forgive my property taxes to the school district and county 100 percent?

What the heck. Ask your state legislators, school board members, municipal supervisors, and county commissioners, too. D-irectly.

And ask them for a handwritten reply which includes the following opening:

Dear day-dreaming DIRT Daily reader,

From their handwritten responses, and any other handwritten d's, you can thusly determine pretty quickly whether your representative, school board director, municipal supervisor, and county commissioner has gone way over the edge of sanity.

On a more serious note: be aware of a recent legal and judicial challenge to the Keystone Opportunity Zones.

In an Associated Press article from Pittsburgh, published Wednesday December 29, 1999, Monongahela Valley Hospital and its parent corporation, Mon-Vale Health Resources Inc. filed a lawsuit in November in Commonwealth Court. Reportedly in December the complaint was amended.

According to the report, the lawsuit contends that the designation of the tax-exempt zones is unconstitutional because the tax breaks are not given to all businesses regardless of where they locate.

Another article in the Friday, March 3, 2000 Tribune-Review offers us an opportunity to watch the game unfold. Check it all out:

Hospital challenges constitutionality of state's enterprise zones

Hospital has courageKOZ Challenged


PA CONSTITUTION IGNORED?

PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION

THIS IS WHAT'S IN PA CONSTITUTION

Article VIII

TAXATION AND FINANCE

Uniformity of Taxation

Section 1.

All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws.


ARTICLE VIII SECTION 5


All laws exempting property from taxation, other than the property above enumerated, shall be void.


Creation of the Keystone Opportunity Zones in the Commonwealth of PA was done by an act of the General Assembly.

HB 2328 was signed in the House, Sept. 29, 1998. The House concurred in Senate amendments, Sept. 29, 1998. Senate and House signed final Sept. 29, 1998.

The legislation was approved by Governor Tom Ridge, Oct. 6, 1998 as Act No. 92

Obtain a copy of Act No. 92


WHAT THE KOZ ACT 92 SAYS:

Section 702. Real property tax. (a) General rule.--Notwithstanding the act of May 22, 1933 (P.L.853, No.155), known as The General County Assessment Law, and the act of May 21, 1943 (P.L.571, No.254), known as The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law, each qualified political subdivision for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 1999, shall by ordinance or resolution abate 100% of the real property taxation on the assessed valuation of deteriorated property in an area designated as a keystone opportunity zone within this Commonwealth.



The Fayette County commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution on December 10, 1998.
The resolution states:

This is a resolution contingently exempting certain persons, property and businesses from taxation in specified areas in the county of Fayette to be designated as portions of a Keystone Opportunity Zone in order to foster job and economic growth, promote industrial and business development, and improve the quality of life of our residents.


The key phrasing in the PA Constitution is Article VIII Section 1. Uniformity of Taxation:
All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, WITHIN THE TERRITORIAL LIMITS OF THE AUTHORITY levying the tax...

The central question remains: how is this resolution and the KOZ legislation constitutional given Article VIII Section 1 and Section 5 of the state Constitution?
The Fayette County commissioners are the authority levying the tax.
The school boards which passed KOZ resolutions are also the authority levying the tax.
Both the county and school board obviously have territorial limits.
In the case of Fayette County, the territorial limits of the county would be all of the land known as Fayette County.


Question This: Is it Constitutional? Who Cares

DIRT founder: Public Statements

Question This: What did the commissioners know?

DIRT Citizen Info Alerts: Who knows what when?

Editorial Writer Questions: Fayette development planners




BE AWARE

This statement is on the DCEDKOZ page: "Severance clauses will be written into KOZ legislation to prevent tax challenges that could expand waived taxes to outside a designated KOZ. A sales tax waiver will be put in place for purchases that are used and consumed by businesses in the zone. This exclusion does not apply to retail sales by those businesses. A person must establish, at least, 184 day residence within a KOZ for state and local income to not be taxed."

How will a severance clause prevent tax challenges?


Citizen Information Alert Links

PA Dept. Community & Economic Development: Keystone Opportunity Zone Act
PA Dept. Community & Economic Development: Keystone Opportunity Zone$ Implemented
PA Dept. Community & Economic Development: Keystone Opportunity Zone$ Feb. 25, 1999
PA Dept. Community & Economic Development: Keystone Opportunity Zone$ Defined

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