Editor's Note: The following is a Letter to the Editor from state Rep. Justin Simmons.
Lehigh County Voters Should Vote Yes on Debt Question
This upcoming election day, voters in Lehigh County have a chance to say if they believe their county should go into debt by being asked in a ballot question if future public-private debt issues must get voter approval before they can move ahead.
Big commercial projects, like Coca-Cola Park, which is home to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, would now have to be approved by the voters if this question were to pass.
The change would not cover financing for traditional government projects such as bridge repair and other infrastructure improvements. Those would continue to be decided by elected officials.
I was proud to have HB 1857, which I sponsored, be signed into law by Governor Corbett last fall. This legislation is what is enabling home-rule charter counties like Lehigh County to do this.
On Tuesday, the question will read:
“Shall the Lehigh County Home Rule Charter be amended to add a new section requiring voter approval for issuance by the County of "private activity bonds," as defined by the Internal Revenue Code, or of taxable "lease rental debt," as defined by the Pennsylvania Local Government Unit Debt Act?”
When you go into the voting booth this Tuesday, I would encourage a yes vote.