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Scranton Commuter Tax Passes First Round Of Votes

SCRANTON — Scranton is one step closer to imposing a commuter tax on non-residents who work in the city.

City council approved the first reading of the ordinance with a vote of two to one at its meeting Thursday night.

“The ayes have it, so approved,” said council vice president Pat Rogan.

With a vote of two to one, Scranton City Council approved the first reading of the commuter tax, which now introduces the ordinance for discussion.

Council believes the commuter tax, that would be applied to non-residents who work in the city, would generate about $5 million a year.

Those commuters expressed anger at what they called taxation without representation.

“It is basically imposing a tax without our consent. As a non-resident of the city of Scranton we have no vote and we have no voice,” said one man who commutes from Dunmore.

This tax would be applied under Act 205 that allows municipalities to tax non-residents with the revenue going only to pay for distressed pension funds.

A financial advisor told council the pensions are one of the biggest financial burdens Scranton has.

“I do stress the results of Hazleton, it has been a distressed city even longer than Scranton with regard to their city pension,” said Wilkes-Barre commuter Matthew Ford. “They`ve had the commuter tax in effect for 30 years now it has not made a difference, they`re still in a distressed situation.”

“Today we`re talking about a commuter tax because we have inability to fund our pension because we mismanaged the funds, we`re responsible for that,” said Scranton resident Doug Miller.

For the average commuter making $50,000 a year, this tax would be an extra $ 375 dollars.

But there’s a twist.

Council member Bill Gaughan says city residents could also be affected if the commuter tax is applied.

He says state lawmakers are considering amending Act 47, the Distressed City Legislation.

That amendment would force a municipality to raise the city wage tax if a commuter tax is imposed.

“We could end up with some egg on our face and it`s again if we have to raise the wage tax, it`s completely debilitating for residents,” said Gaughan.

Council member Gaughan believes that Act 47 legislation could be brought to a vote by this fall.

As for the commuter tax, a final vote is expected at the end of this month.

 

13 comments

  • Concerned

    Taxation without representation. I have to lower MY contribution to MY 401k (my only pension) to give it to someone in Scranton for their pension because of mismanaged funds? Who’s going to help me when I don’t have enough in my 401k?? And raising Scranton resident earned income tax means nothing. Anyone who works moves out of Scranton because of the corruption – those left don’t have EARNED income. They have UNEARNED INCOME.

  • Daniel Walsh

    The solution is simple and always has been. Ones behavior has been conditioned for many decades on the part of the taxpayer and with those in power in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Mismanagement .. diversion of money… cronyism.. even corruption has been acceptable by this and other communities for a long time… and now there’s a price to pay. It’s obvious this behavior (old ways) is no longer sustainable… kinda like an addict hitting rock bottom while searching for that last fix. Intervention must take place first with the enablers (taxpayers) in order to change and help guide the addict’s behavior (politicians, public and private sector employees, power brokers) in seeking treatment. Once the enabler is educated and begins the process of “tough love” towards those whose behavior has been misguided.. even destructive.. then the process of rehabilitation can proceed. Now that “tough love” has been implemented all the above disorders can be brought under control and even eliminated so the addict can function normally, thus controlling and eventually changing the conditioning of ones bad behavior.

  • Bruce

    I live and work in the city and being hit hard with city tax!!! Do these people in city hall want to encourage people to work in the city or not!?!?!?!?

  • dr jones.

    it would be out standing if a large number of people that work in scranton (but don’t live) there come to this next town meeting so they have a voice and basically laugh in the faces of the worms that want to steal this money from you to give it to someone else against your will. they cowards will likely have it behind closed doors away from the public- all I can say is if you live in scranton and haven’t figured it out -your taxes are going to go up about 80%… enjoy the change you voted for it.. suckers.

  • titsmagee

    Maybe Scranton should scrap that tree house and use the wood to heat the government buildings > hey when i get behind on my bills can i start sending my bills to my neighbors….GET REAL!

  • Pete

    Forget the commuter tax. Here’s a solution to Scranton’s money problems. Place a few cameras in city hall and record the day to day bumbling and ineptitude of our elected officials. Market it to Hollywood as a reality show/sitcom. The royalties will start rolling in.

  • dr jones.

    taxation WITH OUT REPRESENTATION! workers out side of Scranton have no voice in this extortion. this effort failed in the 90s – and this broke city will fail again… this is another fine reason not to have a business in Scranton.

  • mdog

    Companies can nullify pensions
    so why can’t government do it?
    Drastic changes must take place sooner or later.
    In almost all PA. cities. Get this: if you work for a company
    that is based in scranton yet you are 50 miles away you will be taxed
    this fee. It happened to someone i know a few years back.

    • dr jones.

      it happened to me in the 90s. I hated driving 30 minutes to Scranton and to be hit with a lower check due to the commuter tax. they stole $20 out of each check -..they don’t fix roads, what exactly did they do with my money? give it to some retiree …I was working retail at the time… and people actually cried when Al Boscov laid people off just before Christmas. the best thing that ever happened to me was learning that some people have a defeated attitude about employment, and learning I could do better then retail employment! Another reason I’ll never buy anything ever in that mall- I remember how I was treated there. karma.

      • mdog

        Dr.j. yes i see. The girl was a waitress in wyoming Pa.She did not even own a car !
        In the 90’s is correct.Funny we both also worked at Boscov’s prior.Yes i to will to this day never return to scranton because of that – we fought it and won thru hr-block i believe.

  • Franko

    Wait a minute — so it’s wrong to raise the taxes on the people who live in scranton in order to support the expensive pensions for the city workers (along with their nearly free benefits), but it’s ok to tax the people who don’t live there to support the city workers ? — How the hell does that work out ?

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