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Luzerne County Budget Passes, Tax Hikes, Possible Job Cuts

A tax increase for Luzerne County homeowners and job cuts for county employees are what county officials are delivering this holiday season.

The county council approved the 2014 proposed budget by a vote of six to five Tuesday night.

Next year’s spending plan calls for a property tax hike of roughly 40 dollars a year to the average homeowner and the potential of nearly forty workers being furloughed.

Homeowners in Luzerne County can expect to pay more in property taxes in the next year with an 8 percent hike coming in 2014.

For the average homeowner, that’s an extra 42 dollars a year.

“Here we go again, budget time, layoffs or taxes, every year certain people blindly call for changes in the county mostly continued cuts to the county workforce.”

Luzerne County Council approved next year`s budget for the county by a narrow vote of six to five after much bitter fighting amongst themselves and harsh comments thrown at County Manager Robert Lawton, who proposed the $124 million spending plan.

“Manage! I will not vote for any budget that you present, you`re the manager, you manage!” yelled one council member.

Lawton says the budget has a $1.4 million deficit and in an attempt to close that gap, council has been negotiating with the county`s unions to see if concessions can be made, particularly in contributing to health care costs.

If not 38 employees, 26 union, 12 non-union could be furloughed in the next year.

“I know Mr. Lawton and many of the members of council are looking for concessions and I know we`re willing to entertain them,” said one union worker.

But the biggest financial burden for the county is its $380 million debt, accrued over years of borrowing.

The county is now on payment plan through 2027.

“We didn`t not use that money well and we didn`t not put in place the structures to pay for that and that in fact is the reality we are facing today,” said one council member.

6 comments

  • jellystoneranger

    Just to follow up on my last post , private companies can choose to do business with unions if they have a product that returns a high enough profit margin to support outrageous union contracts. These extortionist unions would rather cripple their own companies they work for and therefore choke the golden goose then have a meeting of the minds !

    Take Verizon for example . Back in 2000 , mgmnt negotiated with the union on a new contract and the union sold out future union hires just so the union powers could keep the status quo. They had protected titles that could not be touched If you were hired before 2003. Anyone after 2003 had no guarantees of keeping their jobs . Verizon put the line in the sand and just sat back and watch the union numbers dwindle through buyout packages to the point where in a few years they will have a union workforce that they will be able to manipulate through threat of termination .H

    The auto industry had the same opportunity but the Democrats stepped in and poured billions into saving GM and Chrysler unions. All on the taxpayers nickel! The pension burdens were bankrupting these car companies because they couldn’t continue to raise the prices of their cars to offset the penion obligations and still stay competitive with the Japanese and Koreans.

    Now we see Detroit , Harrisburg, Scranton etc either in bankruptcy or on the doorstep . You see when people were actually working and paying taxes , these cities could over up the outrageous pension burdens because taxes were a plenty from property owners and workers to cover the tab. When you have far fewer taxpayers and property owners to milk dry , the great cover-up is exposed for all to see !

    Just one more little tidbit of info. All these bridge jobs and highway projects are all payback from the Obumma regime to his union supporters. They are all companies that must have the majority of their employees union in order to be able to bid on this work. See how it works ?

    So all you taxpaying citizens who can’t afford that new car or that vacation or your child’s college tuition your tax dollars are supporting a very very nice life style and retirement for all of your union brothers and sisters .Ask for the union label !

  • jellystoneranger

    Billionaire owners? Sorry to inform you but we are tax payers not business owners sharpy . The union extortion Magna Carta has always been about threats to the right people or buying them off to get the sweet pension deals they have had for the last 40 years. There should be no unions in public Jobs period! Teachers, Cops,Fireman,muni workers . None of these jobs should be union. All the unions have to do is buy the legislators and mayors city councils to get what they want. Now it is impossible for you to understand that correct? These Democrat voting bases continue to vote these mayors and school board members in and the status quo keeps on rolling. Little Detroit !

  • jellystoneranger

    So let the taxpayers be your security blanket and give these unions the golden goose! Crooked commissioners and their hand picked cronies over the last 30 years stealing from the public . Little Detroit . You make me sick.

    • Janet Den Haese Anderson

      here we go again. Let’s blame the union for all oour woes. REMEMBER….the county AGREED to the union benefits…no one held a gun to their heads and made them accept the perks they asked for. AND, by the way, since when did it become a crime to ask for decent wages and benefits? Does EVERYONE have to work for minimum wage with no healthcare offered because that’s all the billionaire owners want to pay? Want answers as to where the money went?Then ask those on the board. They’re the thieves not the workers.Put the blame where it belongs and that is NOT on the workers or the unions.

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