Yesterday, the Judge overseeing the case, Judge Braxton, regarding the increasing Scranton local services taxes ruled(here). After ten days, the ruling was in favor of the city being able to raise the local services tax but this is not the crux of the case. The Judge has basically punted this case to be handled by another Judge. The ruling states specifically that we are able to bring the case again- and we will. In effect, the judge is acknowledging that our argument regarding the cap on local taxes through Act 511 does apply to the city of Scranton. How do we know?
The court ruling says that the city can raise the local services tax. This is also what we argued in court. Our argument was that the city can control its rates on taxes, but could not go over the cap established by Act 511.
Act 511 reads:
The aggregate amount of all taxes imposed by any political subdivision under this section and in effect during any fiscal year shall not exceed an amount equal to the product obtained by multiplying the latest total market valuation of real estate in such political subdivision, as determined by the board for the assessment and revision of taxes or any similar board established by the assessment laws which determines market values of real estate within the political subdivision, by twelve mills.
The Judge ruled that we are able to bring the case again. The order reads:
“Nothing in this Order shall prevent Respondents from objecting the imposition of this tax at the appropriate time and through the proper procedural mechanisms.”
Thus, if our argument that there is a cap was wrong, we would not be able to bring forth the case to force the city to adhere to the law. Now, the million dollar question is, “is there a case that can be brought to force the Scranton government to keep the law?” YOU BET THERE IS! And guess what we will be doing next? The only thing that bothers us is the time that was spent for the judge that basically tell us file again. Yes, This time we will not go after the couple of million that comes from the local services tax; this time we will go after the 10 million dollar the Scranton is illegal collecting beyond the limit of Act 511 law! Stay Tuned! #Savescranton
The Court Ruling can be viewed here: Order