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Boscola Lauds Selection of Bethlehem as Economic Development Zone
On December 30, 2013 ·
Bethlehem, December 30, 2013 – State Sen. Lisa Boscola today praised the state’s decision to designate Bethlehem as one of two statewide choices for a new economic development program that enables a city to reinvest future state and local tax dollars into a targeted economic revitalization zone within the city.
The City Revitalization and Improvement Zone program (CRIZ) allows for the use of future tax revenues to pay for infrastructure and development costs of local projects.
“This designation will enable Bethlehem to both enhance and accelerate its efforts to bring more jobs and businesses into the city,” Boscola said. “I am proud of the role I played in helping the city capture one of only two available eligibility slots; and I commend the work of all those involved in the process, from the Mayor’s office and City Council, to the city’s CRIZ authority, to our local developers for all of their hard work during the application process.
“I believe Bethlehem’s overall economic prospects and focused efforts to generate private investment were the keys to winning this designation.”
“I also want to thank the Corbett administration for granting this valuable economic development tool and recognizing the great potential this designation will have not only to the city of Bethlehem, but the entire Lehigh Valley,” Boscola added.
Legislation creating the CRIZ program was enacted earlier this year. Boscola was successful in having the enabling legislation expanded to include larger cities such as Bethlehem in the eligibility pool.
Boscola said that all of the city’s development projects are in line with its comprehensive plan, previous revitalization efforts and commitment to smart growth. The plan would generate 4,120 permanent jobs, stoke $300 million in new development and plow $83.8 million in new revenue into the economic development effort.
The Bethlehem CRIZ Authority, the applicant for the state designation, is now tasked with securing development funding and driving that funding out to approved projects. Possible projects include a proposed convention center at the former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site, a $12 million office and retail complex at New and Third Streets; and the redevelopment of Martin Tower.
Under the CRIZ program, new state and city revenue generated from the program can be used to help fund the economic development initiative. Qualifying taxes include sales, income, earned income, business privilege and corporate net income. Those additional tax revenues generated by the CRIZ development would revert back to their respective state or local government source when the bonding obligations are satisfied.
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