Yesterday on WILK Steve Corbett read an email sent by Ed Mitchell to him about Lou Barletta. Here is the response to part of the substance of his claims.
Fact 1: Hazleton is not nor can it be bankrupt And it is not broke either- Why? Have Ed Mitchell personally supply me with the bankruptcy filing for Hazleton. It doesn't exist. Wilkes Barre is in financial hardship and so is Scranton. Scranton's been in Act 47 for since 1992. Is Mitchell crowing about Doherty? Even Reading is in financial distress. Heck the country is in financial distress.
Hazleton's property tax millage is currently at 2.38 due to reassessment. Previously the millage was 25 mills with another 5 mills permitted by Luzerne County Court every year for a total of thirty mills per Third Class City Code. Hazleton was at 30 mills for at least 30+ years leaving it cash strapped over time with ever increasing costs.
After reassessment the millage was dropped to 1.4 last year. Hazleton City Council approved an increase to 2.38 this year. Since Third Class City Code permits cities like Hazleton to assess up to 25 mills it has a long way to go before it will ever be bankrupt or broke.
On the contrary unlike the federal government that can keep printing money Hazleton is trying to live within its means. It is reducing spending and laying off personnel. Their audit will prove those facts to be true for this year. They are not running up accumulated debt unlike Maryann Petrilla and theDemocrats of Luzerne County(last report $466 million), Ed Rendell, Todd Eachus and Pennsylvania( $40 billion or a 73% increase since 2002 ), and Barack Obama and Paul Kanjorski($13 Trillion and counting ).
Barletta found alternative solutions to prevent tax hikes before reassessment when Hazleton's tax rate was stalled at 25 mills by the same law for over 30 years. Imagine trying to run a business with the same income for the last 30 years(his tenure the last ten of those) while everything else went up. And he doesn't want to raise taxes although he and council were forced to this year just to keep the city operating.
It is true that property taxes were raised 70% this year but it amounts to $98.00 per $100,000.00 assessment and hadn't been raised for over 30 years. Since the average home in Hazleton is valued at less than $100,000.00 the impact is not as bad as it could be. Hazleton City government was sensitive to the burden it would place on taxpayers. Coupled with that tax increase was pending layoffs that will start next week.
Instead of raising taxes the City has an opportunity to sell the water assets of the HCA which is permitted by Pennsylvania law. Water rates may increase but they are going to increase anyway. There are too many miles of 80 year old water lines in Hazleton to prevent that from occurring. And the fiscal impact of water rates will monetarily be less than the tax consequences.
Fact 2: Citing the report in Hazleton's unemployment is totally inaccurate.- Why? The official from the state who was in charge of those figures stated they were misleading and should not be relied on from a statistical sense. "Sholly said the figure is a little misleading:" It should be no surprise that neither Mitchell nor Kanjorski would want to be honest about that fact.
Hazleton does not have industrial parks located within its boundaries. The Valmont Industrial Park, Humboldt Industrial Park, the McAdoo Industrial Park, and the Butler Industrial Park are all located outside its boundaries. The reason any figure on Hazleton is misleading is due to the residency of the people employed in those parks. Anyone working outside of Hazleton who is laid off would be counted as a residential statistic of Hazleton, not the place where they are employed
( "Data refer to place of residence ") .
That is the reason the government created Local Area Unemployment Statistics. In order for your statistics to be valid the sample must be broad enough to be meaningful, therefore it is better to look at a region or county. Here is a link to a state file that shows unemployment by county on page 12. Look at this chart located on the CanDo web page showing that unemployment in Luzerne County has been steadily rising.
Companies in those parks include ADM, Cargill, Hershey, OfficeMax, Nature's Bounty, Amazon, Quebecor, Autozone, and more. Those are national companies. The reason people are getting laid off is due to the national economy, not lack of sales to local merchants or customers. It is Paul Kanjorski and Barack Obama policies that are responsible for the national trends, not Lou Barletta.
Kanjorski made the claim that the stimulus program would create/save 7,700 jobs in his district when it was passed.
Any unemployment figure reported for Luzerne County or Hazleton for that matter is reflective of the ineffectiveness of the stimulus program to really create jobs. A look at Recovery.gov shows that only 131 jobs were created in the 11th Congressional district for the first quarter of this year. And the cost to create those jobs was over $329 million. What a dismal showing and hardly anywhere near 7,700.
"It's certainly is a very big stimulus bill, a very big stimulus bill, some politicians give you a lot less substance than their political rhetoric" I hear Clara Peller calling out to Paul Kanjorski "Where's The Jobs"?