“Blight” Upheld in Absence of Bad Faith

Maiello, Brungo & Maiello, LLP is pleased to report that its participation on behalf of its School District client has resulted in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision which upheld the creation of a tax increment financing (TIF) district and the School District’s participation in the TIF plan.  In what potentially could be a landmark decision in the case of Mazur v. Trinity Area School District, et al., the Supreme Court agreed with the arguments raised by MB&M that the TIF district creation and the decision to participate in the TIF plan were not arbitrary, in bad faith, contrary to statutory procedures or in violation of constitutional safeguards.  The TIF opponents had argued that the area had been deemed a “prime location for regional shopping and entertainment” which prevented it from being described as “blighted.”  The Supreme Court agreed with MB&M’s arguments that “it is well established that bald assertions of bad faith are not sufficient” and that “the mere fact that the property in question here was designated as a prime location for shopping and entertainment cannot on its own establish … bad faith when it also characterized the property as blighted.”  This decision is especially helpful to School Districts who may be seeking ways to attract large economic development projects into their School Districts through tax incentive programs such as tax increment financing. 

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