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where Abington, PA residents can share ideas and join forces to build a better community
 

 

5 & 10 YEAR TAX ABATEMENTS
GRANTED 8-09

 

8-13-09 The Tax abatements passed as revised &/or amended since the last presentation. Residents were not alerted to any of the information on the changes that were being proposed and which passed tonite .  5 years abatement  will be given  in some cases - 10 years in others- on  the improvements made to properties that meet the specific guidelines. The abatements are on a graduated scale starting with 100% abatement in the first year ( or tow?) and gradually adding some tax in each year over the specified term.   For more information contact your Township or Commissioner. Despite major  flawed math that was offered in the first presentation, not a single Commissioner spoke to grant residents requests to view the "new" math that may (or may not) show a profit. It was admitted that there are a vast number of factors at play that make any such calculation difficult, at best.


_______________________________

6-09  As of June 09, we have been told the Economic Development Committee is 
planning to present their proposal to the School District for their input before having another public meeting

6-09   10 YEAR OF TAX ABATEMENTS ON COMMERCIAL IMPROVEMENTS?:
      For several months now there have been discussions about continuing the tax abatement programs that have been ongoing in the Township in one form or another for as many as 13 years. The original programs were 5-year - but being proposed now are10-year programs with 100% abatement in the early years and then gradually adding some amount each year so there is not such a hard transition at the end of the 10 years. There is also a desire by Township Staff and/or The Economic Development Committee and some Commissioners to increase the zones or areas  where these will be allowed.
      In conjunction with all of the zoning re- writes that are currently being considered, this program could have a substantial effect on our taxes for years to come.  There has been no direct summary of the financial impact of this on residents that presented the entire picture. At a prior meeting only the positives were calculated- and even they were done on a "guesstimate" basis -  none of the possible losses were considered.

Here are some important points to know:

---- abatements are not being offered all over the Township - only in designated zones or areas and the properties
         must meet the LERTA standards.

---- the whole property is not abated -  only the new improvements. The property would still pay taxes on the
       portion that they were originally paying on . With the number of  improvements being planned
       Township-wide, this could have quite an impact.  Services would still need to be provided for the
       improvements based on their new occupancy &/or  activity levels. If we experience increased traffic
       and police needs, someone has to pay for them.

---- the goals of the abatements  include attracting developers to our area and also encouraging current
      commercial property owners to improve their properties .
         

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DOWNSIDES  OF ABATEMENT?

The theory is that this is a win-win for the Township.  But consider ........

----  There would be a loss  if the business was  going to improve without the abatement. 

----  There would be a loss  if the business would end up going  out of business before the benefit had
             been reaped, which  takes years

----  Current taxpayers would have to suffer the infrastructure and other costs of the improvements while
             waiting for the benefits  (Increased water treatment, police, fire, traffic, code enforcement needs
             just to name a few )

----  There would be a loss  if abatements were offered to those who had already built or improved had agreed to
              build  and would have been paying the taxes anyway
            
---- The goods and services sold by the new businesses would not take from existing businesses - thereby
            threatening them with a lower revenues  and the possibility of becoming the next area of blight

---- The devaluation of other properties & rents that can occur from encouraging building or overbuilding in an
            area with so many  vacancies already  

----  Do you really want that much more of a Commercial voice in your township affairs - will abatements given
             bring developers who might not otherwise have built here and will their voices change zoning laws in
             their favor rather than yours ?

----  Did we factor in the cost of money over time .....? 

----  Is it OK to set up such a blatantly lop-sided advantage for select owners ? Why should one property owner
              get these  advantages while another might have to pay more because of it?

SOME WELL KNOW AUTHORS & AUTHORITIES  ARE CRITICS OF ABATEMENTS

     Critics will tell you that  tax abatements can be a way for developers to gain, while residents  can lose,  big time -Read David Cay Johnson's "Free Lunch"  and you will find well written and researched examples of what looks like a win - win ............  but  isn't at all.

What happened to that free market theory ? If it's not a good enough investment to attract a developer initially, should  we be paying to sweeten that ?


Please share your thoughts.....and/ or opposing views.


    Please feel free to contact us  with your own  information on these topics  and please be sure to    contact us about any information you believe to be incorrect -

 

 

BROKEN LINKS ALERT  

Abington Township recently completely revamped their website at the end of 2015 . All links directed to the old site were broken. We will be reinstating links as we find them and if the data is still available.  
Please  let us know if you find a broken link . Send us the name of the link and the page it is on , and if we can reinstate it, we will.

 


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