Commuter Tax Fight Goes to Court

SCRANTON — The city of Scranton goes to court Tuesday trying to get judges to approve a tax on all commuters who work in the city.

But city lawyers will face a fight in Lackawanna County Court. There is a lot of opposition to the proposed commuter tax.

Three judges must approve this commuter tax for Scranton. If it gets the okay, everyone who lives outside Scranton but works in the city will have to pay a one percent tax.

That money would go to help Scranton get out of its financial mess.

Opponents say that commuter tax is illegal.

City lawyers are ready to argue that those who make the trip into the city for work should have to pay a one percent commuter tax, a last resort to save the city’s finances.

But they face a fight from those commuters.

Of course every commuter will not be going to Lackawanna County Court to battle this.

There’s a group of opponents doing that. The mayor of Mayfield is leading the effort by other municipalities, trying to protect their residents who commute to Scranton.

When city council approved the commuter tax, it was estimated it could raise $2.5 million next year, $4 million in 2014.

Opponents hope the judges force these city leaders to look elsewhere. They say they’re fighting taxation without representation.

Scranton mayor Chris Doherty said he could not comment on the legal action.

This commuter tax is just part of several tax hikes that are part of the proposed Scranton budget which is included in the city’s recovery plan. Property owners are already facing a 12 percent hike next year.

The hearing on the commuter tax starts Tuesday morning in Lackawanna County court.

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