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County to Take Up Easton Commuter Tax Thursday

Northampton County Council is expected to vote on a resolution rejecting Easton's proposed commuter tax.

When Council meets Thursday night, one of the things it's expected to vote on is a resolution condemning Easton's .

As proposed by the city, the 1.75 percent tax will be imposed on anyone who works in the city but lives somewhere else. The city has said it needs to use the income generated from the tax to pay for rising pension costs*.

The county's resolution argues that the tax is unfair to commuters "during the most difficult economic times in recent memory," and that it will drive companies away from Easton.

The county isn't the first government body to speak out against the tax. Forks Township with the proposal back in April.

 

*An earlier version of this story said the tax would pay "pension and legal costs," which is not the case.

Amend July 04, 2012 at 12:03 PM
So, it is fair to saddle the citizens of Easton with all the county social services, including the prison, but it isn't fair to tax commuters due to the current economic climate? Hasn't this economy also affected the citizens of Easton? I'm not saying I'm in favor of this proposed tax, but the language in the county's resolution smacks of bias. Has it occured to the county that Easton might not need as many police, and thus the need to pay the residual pensions, were it not for the prison; a prison with a 60-70% recidivism rate? And what about the townships not seeing a need to financially support Safe Harbor since they don't have homeless in their community? Easton should receive an impact fee(s) for such things, much like Bethlehem did when the casino opened. Instead, the county gives out tax "perks" to develop farm land while the citizens of Easton are left to figure it out on their own. Aren't we still the county seat? Where's the county's pride in that? Bias, I say.
another point of view July 04, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Well said, Amen. Someone ought to clue in the county that they have no say in this tax. It's up to the city of Easton which will remember the county's thoughtless expansion and increase of prison space without one dime of payment coming to the city. Should we forget that the county is paying $50 per prisoner to West Easton Borough. Where's Easton's share? We have to maintain a police force to back up the county prison and the county court system. A prison escapee is a threat to what community? Certainly not Plainfield Township. We deserve even more than this tax payment. The county has done little to benefit its host community. Instead of crying about this tax, the county should be trying to find ways to help Easton. If this is unfair, ask Harrisburg to correct the law. Easton is only following the remedies that the legislature provided. Next, we will hear the usual threats of the county seat relocating elsewhere. Just make sure that you take the prison with you!
another point of view July 04, 2012 at 02:25 PM
One more, I do not favor this tax either. The city regretfully has to use the options provided municipalities by state law. According to the mayor, Easton can only use these funds for pension costs. If the mayor is right then the article's statement that the tax is needed to pay for pension and legal expenses is, perhaps, wrong and misleading.
Tom Coombe (Editor) July 04, 2012 at 03:46 PM
You're correct, APOV. I've changed the story.
louis kootsares July 05, 2012 at 04:29 PM
gee county council sees the need to put its nose where it does not belong ... butt out council its eastons problem ill butt in with my opinion... freeze the pension plan let a federal agency take control and begin anew with a 401k
louis kootsares August 10, 2012 at 08:18 PM
i like mayor panto's remark i to believe if the county does not like the tax move out i am sure lafayette college will make good use of the countys buildings

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