In January of this year, Governor Wolf put forth a series of Legislative Proposals meant to address critical infrastructure problems in Pennsylvania, including blight, particularly in rural Pennsylvania. He called this series of proposals Restore Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf simultaneously proposed paying for these initiatives through the imposition of a tax on the extraction of shale gas in the Commonwealth. While many of the proposals to address the infrastructure problems were well received, the funding of the programs through a shale gas tax has been more controversial. More information on the entire Restore Pennsylvania initiative can be found HERE.
Of interest to municipalities in the Commonwealth dealing with the problem of blighted properties is the section of the Governor’s proposal that deals specifically with that issue. The Governor’s proposal acknowledged that nearly all communities within the state have some level of blight. The cost of dealing with the problem varies, with small municipalities needing funding of perhaps $1 million dollars to address the issue, while larger municipalities, such as Altoona, having concluded that they need tens of millions of dollars to effectively combat the problem.