Scranton City Council Approves Controversial Commuter Tax

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SCRANTON -- Scranton City Council’s plans to impose a controversial commuter tax on those who work in the city is moving along at a rapid pace.

Thursday night council approved the proposed one percent tax which they said will raise more than $10 million over the next three years.

The commuter tax will be for non-residents who have jobs in the city.

The proposed tax was approved at council`s meeting Thursday night despite negative feedback by most who spoke.

“I think it`s an absolute disgrace and a joke that this council and this administration would even consider imposing this kind of tax on people,” said Bob Bolus.

“We going to pick on the people that are least able to defend themselves which are the working class people,” said Lee Morgan.

Council said this tax was essentially pre-approved since it is included in the city`s recovery plan.

Council members estimate the tax would bring in $2.5 million in 2013 and $4 million in 2014 and 2015.

“The city anticipates the need for a commuter tax for only three years and during each of those years the city must continue to petition the court for annual approval,” said council president Janet Evans.

Evans called this tax "emergency legislation."

The city needs to petition the Lackawanna County Court to get this implemented before the end of year.

“We`re already pressing the deadline, and it`s imperative that we get a court date in 2012 because we anticipate the implementation effective January first, 2013,” said Evans.

One speaker even challenged those against the tax to come up with a better option.

“If you want to say you don’t like the commuter tax, or this and that tax, then come forward with a plan yourself,” said Doug Miller “What do you suggest we do, if we don`t implement the commuter tax?”

The next step for city leaders is to petition the court to implement the tax. Council is hoping a hearing can be scheduled before the end of the year.