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Scranton Commuters To Pay City Wage Tax

SCRANTON — Non-residents who work in Scranton will soon have to pay a city wage tax.

City council voted Thursday night to impose a commuter tax starting in October.

For people who come to the city of Scranton for work, you will be shelling out more in taxes.

“Yes, I hereby declare 7-A legally adopted,” said Council president Bob McGoff.

Scranton city council voted four to one to impose a commuter tax on non-residents under Act 205 legislation despite opposition from speakers.

“Obviously it`s not just affecting Scranton but now everybody`s going to be affected by your vote tonight,” said Laureen Cummings from Old Forge.

“Placing a burden on the commuters that had absolutely nothing to do with the gross incompetence that took place and continues to take place,” said Doug Miller from Scranton.

“Said revenue to be specifically restricted to funding of the severely distressed pensions,” read city council clerk Lori Reed.

The tax is expected to generate $5 million a year with that money going solely to fund the city’s distressed pension funds.

For a commuter making $50,000 annually in Scranton, that tax is an extra $375 a year.

City administrators told council before the vote, the pension funds are rapidly running dry.

“If the fund itself could not sustain the city would need to make the payments out of the general fund,” said city solicitor Jason Shrive.

The mayor said his administration has been meeting with union representatives to work on pension reform.

“I’m wondering if the fact that the unions are willing to talk to the administration whether or not that means the city has not exhausted all other avenues,” said state representative Sid Michael Kavulich, who serves the 114th District.

Council member Bill Gaughan cast the single “no” vote, saying state lawmakers in Harrisburg are considering re-working Act 47, the distressed city legislation that would make municipalities raise property taxes if a commuter tax is imposed.

Gaughan expects that amendment to pass in the fall.

“It’s not fair to ask commuters to pay and eventually resident are going to have to pay a 33 percent increase in their wage tax,” said Gaughan.

Council said letters will be sent to city employers telling them that commuter tax will be collected starting October 1st.

41 comments

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  • unfair

    Don’t the people pay enough taxes as it is? Now they want to take even more when are they going to stop, when they take every last penny the people make and have no way to live?

  • Laura

    Scranton city council has just signed Scranton’s death warrant. DECADES of MISMANAGEMENT is going to be fixed by a commuter tax? I don’t think so nor does anyone who has a brain. I will never patronize Scranton businesses again. Good bye, Steamtown, Hilton,Radisson. I don’t think the revenue from the St Patrick’s Day parade will sustain these businesses all year. Council hasn’t figured this out from the last attempt over 10 years ago. Why aren’t the students who live out of state and come to school here also penalized for the privilege “working” in Scranton? This is their job for however long it takes them to get their degree. This would certainly generate revenue from the non profit agencies who seem to have an awful lot of money. Recently, a Scranton resident and I were involved in a heated discussion. Her comment was, “Well you should have to pay the taxes I do, living in Scranton.” I told her that was one of the reasons I would never live in Scranton, and that I wasn’t responsible for the stupidity of the people who elected the incompetent city government.

    I

  • RDKDAVE

    Employees in Scranton all pay a privilege to work tax. Commuters or residents. So now if you are a commuter, you have to pay a commuter tax. Even if you use public transportation. So is Scranton prepared to start repairing everyone’s vehicles that Scranton’s roads are destroying? Absolutely not.
    This is just taxation without representation. Every time Scranton tried the commuter tax, the courts said no way. Eventually this will be thrown out by the courts because once they see that the former administration “borrowed” the pension fund money just to be able to tax the commuter.
    Oh and by the way people, it’s not the unions fault your elected dingbats in Scranton can’t manage the cities finances. Start teaching all those huge corporations that claim to be non profit and I’ll bet you’ll start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel without a commuter tax.
    I also believe that every single municipality in the region should tax every Scranton resident who work outside of their crappy city, raise the sales tax for any Scranton resident who spends money outside of Scranton. I, for one will never, ever spend another dime in Scranton.

      • warlock

        Just wondering???? If its so “crappy” why do you even work here?????? Show of hands??? I know!!!! BECAUSE your “crappy” municipality has NO JOBS.

    • WilliamG

      Except that it won’t be thrown out now. Philly eyed the commuter tax the last time Scranton had it, and figured out a way, through the State, to make it legal. 40 different municipalities in the Commonwealth now use this tax; it has been fought in the courts over 20 times, and there is now overwhelming case law that makes it legal. It doesn’t make it ‘right’, but it is legal.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    $5 million a year to go directly to underfunded pensions!!! Why do they say what it really is? We’re taking your hard earned money to line ours and our retired buddies pockets. That’s all it is. Just admit it, man up and admit it! Government people are no different than welfare recipients, they are part of the entitlement crowd!!!!!!! All of you!

  • Sassy

    Its a shame, but Scranton has been in a hole, financially, since the 90’s. The only way to save this city is to hit reset, by filing for bankruptcy and starting over. The hole is too big to crawl out of and is attributable to the mismanagement of the Connor’s administration, the corruption in the Scranton Parking Authority and other city agencies, mismanagement of the union contracts which resulted in large fines, the construction of the Steamtown mall, which was hampered by the demands of the Globe Store to be included, etc. I see no other way out. Bite the bullet now, and maybe the city can be saved. Otherwise, I predict it will look exactly the same or even worse 20 years from now.

  • dave hamill

    as long as this tax is in effect, I will no longer spend any money in the city of Scranton. I wonder if I can bill them for blown tires and tire alignments because they don’t fix their roads (keyser ave. for example). And I commute to Scranton to provide emergency services. maybe I can declare myself “distressed” and have the residents of Scranton bail me out! this city council is a joke!

  • tom

    No body should pay this-make a stand together.What will they do?Put all these people in jail?In our area this is a idiotic idea to make people pay this tax.NEPA does not make the salaries other areas do.

  • JP

    Even the picture/video of Scranton looks dismal. Glad I don’t live or work anywhere nearby. The local government has run the city into the ground and have dug a big hole from all their extra curricular activites/projects, and now they want others to grab a shovel to try to fill it in. SAD! So much for the people driving into the city for a minimum wage job or something barely above it. Smooth move Scranton.

  • angelo

    Act 205 should not be an option for Scranton due to the fact that the pension funds were “borrowed” by the previous administration to be spent elsewhere and never repaid. It’s real easy to drain a bank account and when it’s empty, call it distressed.

    • RDKDAVE

      The only reason they “borrowed” that money was because they found out that if they didn’t have the pension fund money they could instate a commuter tax. So if course make people who have nothing to do with that mess and have no representation in the city pay for their inability to manage their finances

  • Pocono Lu

    Did we not fight a revolution against England to avoid the same thing – Taxation Without Representation? Commuters do not get to vote on the Scranton representatives, but are required to pay for their screw-ups? I could possibly understand the logic of the tax if every municipality passed the same ordinance, in that if you work in a city beside your own that you are taxed for the services provided by that community. Do these taxes have deductions, such as if you donate to a non-profit in that city or if you can illustrate a hardship?

  • Kim

    This is disgusting! I hope it won’t last long but if it does I can’t see many employers being attracted to your city. More so, I see current employers looking elsewhere, especially smaller businesses already fighting to keep their heads above water. Good luck Scranton!

  • chris

    It is unfortunate that the commuters will have to pay a tax just to work in Scranton. This is totally wrong since it was due to the corruption of Scranton council, mayor and poor management. .. The small business owners of Scranton will be negatively impacted as well. I will continue to try to support the small business owners of Scranton since it is not there fault. .. Scranton council and mayor should be ashamed of what they have done to the city. Corruption at its finest. ..

  • lmzs

    it is truly sad and disgusting that the government ran this country into the ground and now things have gotten so bad that there are hardly any good to halfway descent paying jobs around they way it is. most people have to work 2 or more just to survive and put food on the table. I understand , police, fire and emergency personnel deserve a pention for the life threatening risks they take, but I also think that it should be a federally paid job and pention not city, there are so many unpaid firemen in Pa. what makes Scranton and they few others so special they are paid. All those other men and women put their lives on the line too and its volunteer …people! but for those who sit behind a desk running the city into the ground , well maybe get out and work some of they only crappo jobs left to work and earn one like everyone else. How about cutting their salaries and putting that into the pention fund? Do they really need to be paid to accomplish nothing to benefit and bring the city back and out of the shitter??? I feel so sorry when men and women that work in hospitals helping and saving peoples lives have to pay to work there because they don’t live in the crime infested shithole of a city, while although they may have studied there for their degrees and are still paying their loans back for that. why are all these ridiculous taxes exposed on the poor people of the world while the rich keep getting richer or you find out the city appointed officials are stealing it…..WTF! Increase taxes on those who live in these huge homes, lawyers, doctors, big businesses, People please wake up, what if all these people found jobs elsewhere, where would Scranton be then??? FLUSH! Further down the crapper!!! And really, that high of a tax on homeowners…… sure lets charge you even more to live somewhere , where you fear for your life , home, property and belongings because there is so much crime, arsons, break-ins, thefts, vandalisms and so on. no wonder why so many are starting to move out of the city and live more into the country and more rural areas….. but in Scranton’s eyes , lets punishing them and tax the hell out of them for doing so and trying to feel safer and enjoy living . Please sit and wonderer and think a lot more …….WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO PEOPLE!!!!!

  • o-bob

    The unions that once made this country great have now ruinied it. It is my opinion that only police and firefighters deserve a fully funded pension from the government. City / county / municipal workers should not be entitled to a free ride on the backs of the residents. I am not only referring to Scranton in this case. This should be a nationwide policy. With the decline of the private sector unions nationwide, the unions are grasping onto its last remaining stronghold. As long as democrats keep getting elected, the financial burden for pensions will remain a burden to the taxpayer.

  • Robert

    I live outside the city. This is a public notice to all Scranton residents. Since I lost money in my 401K during the last recession you are hereby on notice that, in order to recoup my losses, if you turn around in my driveway you will be assessed a tax equal to the proposed Scranton commuter tax. Security on duty 24/7.

  • Ur pathetic

    Feel bad for all u dumb f—-s voting yes the city is done to begin with because of your stupidity now all the employees that do not live in the city witch by the way helps small busissness a with buying gas ect. Is now going to look for jobs out side the city to avoid being taxed do to your negligence and ability to run a city smh just as bad as obama

      • Charlie Lucky

        You say you will take his job? You sure? You would prolly have to give up your access card if you worked……….

      • vulture

        Charlie lucky, didn’t I used to see you at the pub Charles? Have another drink bud. Not everyone in this city has the Access card like yourself. All these people “claiming” they are not going to spend anything in Scranton. WHO CARES! Is it really going to make a difference? We have people coming in from all areas to tour our historic sites, visit our parks, Italian Festival etc. By the way i dont mind paying extra taxes if i could find work where i actually live. Oh and good luck finding a job in Old Forge Dickson City has many restaurants and stores you can get a job at out of the city best wishes to you all! But no hospitals etc there is always wilkes barre. I am a health professional and I am actually looking forward to not driving a hour to my job. Job openings for city residents. Yay!

      • hungry like the wolf

        Charlie Lucky I think I will take your job its obvious from your judgmental post that I am more than qualified. Access card? Ohhh is that all you people can say? By the way you can work and get the access card dummy.

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