2019-02-09 / Front Page

Local state police tax?

Another plan to force many local residents to pay an annual tax for Pa. State Police coverage is circulating in the state capital.

Under a plank in Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2019 budget, residents in townships and boroughs that do not have local police departments would be assessed an $8.00 fee to support state police coverage.

Wolf floated the proposal two years ago and received little support from the state legislature, due to its impact on smaller, cash-strapped communities.

This year’s plan may be more palatable to lawmakers because it holds the fee at $8.00 per-capita for municipalities with fewer than 2,000 residents, while imposing a high tax on more populous townships and borough.

Thus, residents of Shippen Township (pop. 2,103) in Cameron County would pay $17 per-capita, or an annual total of $35,750.

Other Cameron County payments would be: Lumber, $1,480; Grove, $1,384; Portage, $1,304; Gibson, $1,232; and Driftwood, $512.

In Potter County, the annual fees would total: Abbott, $1,904; Allegany, $3,320; Austin, $4,432; Bingham, $5,448; Clara, $1,568; Eulalia, $7,064; Genesee, $6,296; Harrison, $8,184; Hebron, $4,688; Hector, $3,056; Homer, $3,392; Keating, $2,456; Oswayo Boro, $1,104; Oswayo Twp., $2,200; Pike, $2,592; Pleasant Valley, $680; Portage, $1,792; Sharon, $6,832; Stewardson, $584; Summit, $1,472; Sylvania, $600; Ulysses Twp., $5,064; West Branch, $3,144; and Wharton, $776.

Rep. Mike Sturla, a Lancaster County Democrat who has championed the tax for many years, pointed out that 73 percent of Pennsylvania residents pay for their own local police coverage, while also funding state police coverage for municipalities that not to have a local police force.

“Those who claim their townships or boroughs do not need this service should call the state police and ask them to stop all patrolling in their areas,” Sturla said. “Every year, more municipalities opt to disband their local police in favor of receiving services from the state police for free. Sooner or later, the rest of the state will no longer be able to sustain this increasing cost.”

Return to top