The 675-page gambling expansion legislation passed by the PA House is chock full of what we’re calling “sweetheart legislation”.
For example, this bill contains this paragraph on page 448- 449:
“…the sum of $250,000 shall be distributed annually for a period of 20 years to a city of the third class located in two counties of the third class for purposes of funding the redevelopment of an existing arts and education center that has professional artist space and studios.”
This can only apply to the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, a third-class city that’s split among the third-class counties of Lehigh and Northampton.
Examples of sweetheart legislation for Lancaster were:
1) The bill a decade ago that allowed the Convention Center to receive state aid by eliminating the restriction that disqualified the downtown site because of the proximity of the Host Farm convention center east of the City.
2) The recent turning the meaning of CRIZ on its head by allowing Penn Square Partner to treat the current tax revenue stream from the existing Marriott hotel as though it were new revenue for computing and funding a $5 million CRIZ grant / gift for an addition to the Marriott. (Taxes are used to pay for the grant; if there isn’t enough money, the City of Lancaster is on the hook.)
There was a time when the Lancaster Newspapers (Steinman family) and Dale High, indirect partners in Penn Square Partners, might have been ‘tarred an feathered’ for such antics and run out of town.