Allentown's Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) is a special taxing district set up to fund construction of a downtown hockey arena / event center. It is also designed to encourage development adjacent to the arena and at the city's nearby waterfront area. The zone will use most state and local tax revenue gathered inside its boundaries to fund its own development.
Surrounding townships have objected that the local Earned Income Tax paid by their residents who work within the NIZ belongs to them and should not be diverted back into the zone. They've also argued that the tax advantages of the NIZ are so beneficial that development in their own communities will be hampered.
Over the past many months, WFMZ-TV has reported dozens of stories about the controversy. We've aired a debate concerning the NIZ on the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce program, "Business Matters." Many of our stories have detailed the objections of developers and municipalities. On Thursday, WFMZ's Eve Tannery sat down with Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski to hear his views on the issue. The full interview is posted herein.
As the story develops, you can count on 69 News to continue covering all perspectives on this important story.