Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Luzerne County Property Tax

In today's Times Leader, our favorite cornhole, I mean commissioner, Greg Skrepenak announced his support for a couple new taxes. He would like the county to introduce a 1% sales tax as well as a 1% income tax. His rationale, to hopefully lower property taxes. I call bullshit. This a blatant attempt to pander to the county's senior citizens as they would not be affected by his new taxes. Greg, do you really think all the older folks are going to forget all of your peccadillos? Think debit cards, no bid contracts for your pals, the 58 million dollar juvie center lease, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. You may get a few of them to support you because they think their tax bill may go down. The problem there Greggy, is that when they find out that there will in fact be a 10% tax increase for fiscal year 2009 and after that the sky is the limit on increases, I think they'll be forming a lynch mob.

If you don't know what I mean by the aforementioned property tax increases, you haven't been paying attention. That is how it works. The first year they are limited to a 10% increase only. After that, they have no such restriction on increases. This is why the County needs to cut deeply into the budget fat. Will they? Probably not. Will they make the token cuts they are proposing permanent? Even less likely.

The real problem with Scrap's proposed new taxes is who those taxes will hit the hardest. The new sales tax will far and away hit the poor the hardest. The income tax coupled with the sales tax will be a heavy burden on the middle class.

Granted, I never played football without a helmet on like Greg but wouldn't it be better for the county to get rid of all the fat before laying siege to the poor and middle class? It is a fact that there are departments at the court house that have 5 managers and one worker bee. Why not start there?


McGruff said...

For years Hazleton has been restricted to the maximum 25 mills allowed by law. Each and every year they petition the court for an automatic 5 mill allowed by the same law for a total levy of 30 mills property tax. There are other levys in there but for the purpose of your post this explanation will do.

They recently received notification that property tax millage will drop to 1.6 mills which will allow 1.8 mills with the extra 10 percent.

So as you said Zen, the year after next the amount can go to 25 mills. Of course we know they won't have the below the belt christmas ornaments to do it but the exposure to the taxpayer is there.

As for Skrepenak I heard the following rumor. Since the cargo airport in Hazleton is pretty much a dead issue the current thinking is to build a new federal prison that looks like a hotel. They will be taking advance reservations and its possible Skrep can be the first. The venture is only accepting select clientele- judges, commissioners, wardens, row officers, etc. BTW it was announced Martha Stewart is being brought in as a decorating consultant.

Anonymous said...

I agree. even better, get rid of all the phathom jobs, every department has one and they dont have any function other than to grab a paycheck from the taxpayers. blatant theivery. where is the fbi on this one. this IS a crime! hell, they dont even have to show up..just grab free money. lets see if petrilla gets rid of the managers she said she would. that would eliminate about half of the phathom jobs.

JediMaster9780 said...

Skrep is a bum 'nuff said.