Bond Buyer’s Piece On Scranton Tax Case

SCRANTON, Pa. — A county court on Tuesday heard the city of Scranton’s preliminary arguments against a lawsuit attempting to stop it from tripling its local services tax.
Judge James Gibbons of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas heard from attorneys representing the city and a group of eight taxpayers in his second-floor courtroom in downtown Scranton.
Gibbons gave no timetable for any ruling.
Scranton raised the levy from $52 to $156 for every person working within the city limits that earns at least $15,600. City officials defended the move under Pennsylvania’s municipal planning code and called it essential for the city’s recovery under the state-sponsored Act 47 for distressed communities, to which Scranton has belonged since 1992.
The taxpayer group, led by independent mayoral candidate Gary St. Fleur, is seeking a mandamus action. St. Fleur has said that lowering taxes across the board is the only way for Scranton to revive economically. He has also initiated a ballot measure to force the city to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
Their lawsuit named Mayor William Courtright and business administrator David Bulzoni as defendants.

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