SCRANTON– When Mayfield mayor Alexander Chelik thinks about Scranton’s impending commuter tax, he sees red.
Now he is doing everything he can to stop it.
Chelik says, “Our strategy is to immediately go to court and stop the commuter tax. That is it.”
He says just like the founding fathers, he believes this is taxation without representation. He says elected officials are taxing people who did not put them in office.
Mayfield’s mayor wants people who live here and in other communities to chip in 10 dollars to fight the tax in court.
“There is 22,566 commuters we are asking each of them to donate at least 10 dollars, that would give us at least a war chest of over 200 thousand dollars,” Chelik says.
In 2012, Chelik was part of a successful effort to stop a similar tax.
While this legal situation is not exactly the same, he says, “We feel there have been procedural errors made in the adoption of the plan.”
Folks at a community garage sale in Mayfield had mixed about the Scranton commuter tax and whether they would be chipping in to the mayor’s fund.
“Anything we can do to fight not to have more taxes is worth fighting” said Nancy Wallace of Lenoxville.
State representative Marty Flynn has constituents inside and outside of Scranton, and says the situation is not similar to the Boston Tea Party, since legislators from the whole state passed a law permitting cities to levy commuter taxes.
Flynn says, “If Scranton fails, the whole region fails. So that is my selling point, we need help, and I think it is a good idea for cities to kick in commuter taxes.”
Scranton leaders enacted the tax on commuters in an effort to bail out the city’s finances, especially the pension plan.
Chelik says he has been getting the word out through social media and has collected 500 dollars so far.
Scranton City Council President Bob McGoff told Newswatch 16 that he is not surprised by this turn of events, but he expects that the city would vigorously defend the tax if a court case would go forward.