The following are public comments made to the Uniontown City Council. The council was considering resolutions to
include the Fayette Bank Building, and other town properties, in the KOZ. My comment was presented in written form,
and resources were provided.
Review Daily Courier archives for various articles:
KOZ status approved for three properties Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Future of Central School building unsure Sunday, June 8, 2003
Council approves KOZ status for old Fayette Bank building Thursday, May 8, 2003
Tuesday's public meeting
was also to share and gain public information on 10 acres of KOZ from the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority's 110 KOZ
Public comments Tuesday meeting, May 6, 2003 Begin
Uniontown starts here. That's a play on words of one of PA's slogans, America Starts Here. Here's another play on words.
Tax-shiftation. Keep that word in mind, and KOZ rhymes with OZ. Your concerns are city-level. The taxpayer's
concerns are with all taxing jurisdictions. Government doesn't say, voluntarily donate whatever amount of income you want
to share the cost of public services or infrastructure. Government coerces taxes at threat of loss of family house and business,
Wait, that's no longer true. Not in PA's KOZ. In the land of KOZ there is no such coercion, no loss of
property for tax non-payment. (Read: Gov. Ridge words )
Government taxes people and businesses. Tax -exemption for one, not for all, is unfair. Sick to the stomach unfair to think
of one taxpayer facing loss of house, business property, while another doesn't because taxpayer/business is located in a residential
or business-industry KOZ. ( residential KOZ allowed.) Settle back and think about how some taxpayers
must pay for the county bond issue, but not KOZ residents and businesses for 10-12 years (15 in
KOIZ) The illusion, the lie of KOZ was revealed when the county took out, decertified, 110 acres designated
KOZ in the Route 40 Fayette County Industrial/Business Park. Wizardry of KOZ is unmasked. What did we see? Over
4-years we saw no takers for the manufacturing zoned acres in the KOZ. We did see interest for land in the park undergoing
improvements: Infrastructure. A doctor's office sought a spot because of infrastructure. However, though doctors can band
together, form a clinic, a qualified KOZ business, none did that here in Fayette? It happened in Washington
County. (More about who challenged the clinic's KOZ in the sidebar) Recall, the South Union Township supervisors,
who'd already authorized KOZ along with Laurel Highlands and the county in 98/99, were reluctant to rezone from manufacturing
to business in 2003. Why? (See sidebar)
The commissioners and the FC Redevelopment Authority surely know the term qualified business. What can go
into a KOZ is a doctors' clinic. We know this because a Washington County hospital challenged KOZ.
(See sidebar) There is a Byberry hospital in a KOZ. Why didn't FC Redevelopment Authority and commissioners
fight for rezoning of manufacturing to commercial leaving KOZ intact? Were the SU township supervisors going to ok
the rezoning on land already KOZ designated. No. Were they going to pit one existing business against another, doctors'
offices, for 10-15 years, not in their taxing jurisdiction . They are not going to pit doctors against doctors already located
in Cherry Tree's complex, which wouldn't qualify for KOZ. There is the illusion - lie of KOZ. It wasn't
needed to attract a doctor's office and other businesses now that infrastructure's there. New KOZ legislation entices
banks to locate in KOZ. Can't see Dollar Bank at FC Park? Why not? Unfair to Cherry Tree banks? Listen to
Let's talk about 10-acre KOZ, and Fayette Building. Formerly a bank building, was it not? There is nothing to prevent
offering KOZ property to qualified businesses who want to invest. The only thing stopping a qualified
business from relocating is exactly what happened at the county's park. Let's see if this happened with Fay-Penn's
control of Fayette Technology Park KOZ - a qualified business, high-rise apartments are going in. What
is the difference between that qualified business and any other? Nothing. Fay-Penn could
determine to put any qualified business there how about Best Bank. Let's get to the heart of KOZ. The Herald-Standard
and Tribune-Review both editorialized KOZ is OK. Since they believe in KOZ, they should believe in Taxing-Times
Gazette, which will promise big investment dollars. Now tax-free - TTG refurbishes offices for a television studio. Although
they are no longer complaining about tax assessments, Taxing Times Gazette keeps its name, and it grows over 12 years. (See
Pgh. Post-Gazette, Taxing Times) Bet we'll read a few choice editorials if another different newspaper chain is allowed to
locate in a tax-free zone. How about a coffee shop? That's what happened in York. Unfairness is squarely in
the KOZ. See through the game you're asked to play? You're asked to believe KOZ is fair if an economic development
agency or an authority handles it.
Do you believe?
York's Downtown KOZ Opportunities.
If you believe, KOZ for a coffee shop with 8 employees, offices, storefront retail and residential is ok to be handled
by Fay-Penn, or the 10-acre KOZ, follow York, you must also believe any qualified business. is ok to be handled
by a qualified handler. Here's the clincher, if you OK a 10-acre KOZ whether or not it includes the Gearing
building, you will be creating the unfair business advantage. Can't justify tax-exempt business like Taxing Times Gazette
competing with others that don't have that same advantage, then realize KOZ is an illusion, a lie. The definition of
unfair remains the same. No matter the name change the publicity such as when Gov. Tom Ridge introduced KOZ, tax-shiftation
- is shifting of tax burden from one to another.
End it, here, today.