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Committee Assigned for Allentown NIZ Audit | WDIY Local News

City of Allentown

In December, State Senator Jarrett Coleman, a Republican who represents parts of Lehigh and Bucks counties, introduced resolutions calling for an audit of Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ).

Now, a press release announced the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) will produce two reports — one on the effectiveness of the NIZ, and one on the effectiveness of Pennsylvania workforce development programs.

Pennsylvania created an NIZ program in 2009. In Allentown, state and local taxes collected within the NIZ are used to fund economic development projects within the zone. One of these projects was the PPL Center arena.

Over the past decade, more than $500 million has been invested in the area. Senator Coleman questioned whether this money has been put to good use and called for an audit to show Pennsylvanians what their money is being invested in.

Other local legislators have spoken out about the audit, including State Representative Josh Siegel, who expressed his confidence that the investigation will show only the NIZ’s “transformative impact.” Siegel also said he’s “disappointed in Senator Coleman’s continued fixation on an ultimately redundant and unnecessary audit.” He highlighted the regular audits the NIZ undergoes with publicly-available results.

The committee will also examine state workforce development programs and suggest ways to improve their services.

According to the resolutions, the committee will have six months to complete the NIZ audit and a year to complete the workforce development study.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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