Capitol Wire: Keystone Opportunity Zone program extended, expanded by Senate

This is my last story covering the State Capitol for Capitol Wire, a service for which you don’t have a subscription, so I can only give you a taste. This is part of a post-graduate internship with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents’ Association (PLCA).

HARRISBURG (June 30) Builders developing underused parts of Pennsylvania would continue to see breaks from certain state and local taxes under a bill that passed the Senate on Saturday.

Senate Bill 1412, sponsored by Sen. John Pippy, R-Allegheny, would reauthorize Pennsylvania’s Keystone Opportunity Zone program, extending the tax-free status for unoccupied zones for an additional seven years, beyond the current Dec. 31, 2008 expiration date. Municipalities must opt into the extended program by July 31, 2009.

“In KOZ, the key element of this is an opportunity zone,” Pippy said. “I’ve talked to many of my colleagues about investing in our urban and some of our rural brown field areas that need investment the most. Once you take away the tax burden, the businesses and the jobs come…”

The bill also authorizes the creation of seven new Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zones of up to 350 acres and some less than 10 acres, if they are contiguous to a current zone.

A proposal to extend and expand the program was part of Gov. Ed Rendell’s economic stimulus package, which he rolled out near his budget proposal in February.

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