Under the Hat: A Break on Tax Breaks - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: A Break on Tax Breaks

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Tax breaks are taking up air space this week.

The biggest defers future tax dollars to create a pool of money up front that Lord Corporation is using to relocate to the former Bush Industries building in Summit Township.

Where to place tax breaks is also a key issue in the race for president.

Traditionally Republicans have favored plans that provide incentives for those who have the money to spend, hopefully on new projects that would create new companies and with them new jobs.

President Obama is advocating taxing those dollars and giving the breaks to the middle class, arguing that the economy will be stirred better if more people are walking around with a few dollars to spend.

Which path will produce better results is of course a decision for you to make come November.

Now Erie City Council is looking to renew the City's LERTA program, which provides up to 10 years of tax breaks on a sliding scale for new construction or significant renovations.

A stingier formula from Harrisburg means the tax breaks are a little less for new homes but the program is a little more generous when it comes to major remodels like a new deck or garage.

Commercially, the biggest change could be that the entire waterfront is being taken out of the LERTA designation and any future development there will not be eligible for a program enjoyed by almost every homeowner in the city.

Does this mean that development on the water will come to a grinding halt?

I'm told "no."

First off, there isn't that much waterfront land ready for development, with the exception of the 23 acres that used to be home to the GAF plant.

Secondly, developers are sure to raise a fuss but at the end of the day the properties available are just too desirable so development there will move forward.

Tax breaks aren't going anywhere. Most communities offer some kind of tax incentive package and if we don't would be at a severe disadvantage to not only entice but even keep business here.

But taking the waterfront out of the tax break district seems like a low risk, common sense move that preserves dollars for where the program is intended.

To fix up that which otherwise might not draw much interest.

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