As one of his first official acts in office, Senator Dan Laughlin today (January 4) called on Governor Tom Wolf to reverse his moratorium on the expansion of two economic development programs that could spur development and job growth in Erie and communities across Pennsylvania.
Last month, the Governor announced that he would not authorize additional Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZ) or City Revitalization and Improvement Zones (CRIZ).
“Both programs have proven to be critical to the growth and development of properties and communities that would not otherwise be improved, such as many of those which I now represent in Erie County,” Senator Laughlin wrote in his letter to the Governor. “On behalf of the residents of the 49th Senatorial District, please reconsider your position. Erie County needs your help. Please don’t let us down.”
KOZs, a program started under Erie native and former Governor Tom Ridge, have been credited with the creation of nearly 10,000 jobs and sparked more than $1.5 billion in private capital investment. The program provides state and local tax relief of up to 100 percent through exemptions, deductions, abatements and credits.
Created by Act 52 of 2013, a CRIZ is an area of up to 130 acres, composed of parcels designated by a contracting authority, which will provide economic development and job creation. State and local taxes collected in the CRIZ are used to repay debt service to stimulate economic development projects within the CRIZ. Bethlehem and Lancaster are now demonstrating positive results only a few years after receiving their CRIZ designations. In its first year, Lancaster’s new CRIZ produced $3.4 million in benefits for that community.
“The CRIZ and the KOZ programs have proven their value,” Senator Laughlin wrote in his letter to Governor Wolf. “While not every CRIZ or KOZ project is guaranteed success, the sheer volume of success stories, under both Republican and Democratic governors, has demonstrated that these programs should be continued, especially in troubled communities such as Erie.”
Contact: Matt Azeles email@example.com