This is a first for me. And thinking about it, it's probably a first on the local Internet, too.
A press release from a candidate for Luzerne County Council...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bruce J. Simpson
February 7, 2011
Phone Number: 570-824-5451
Bruce J. Simpson Announces Tax Plan to meet Luzerne County deficit
In recognition that property taxes are already too high on the people of Luzerne County and are placing a burden on many seniors who are trying to hold onto their homes, Simpson has announced that if elected to the County Council, he will not vote to raise property taxes.
"I realize in order to eliminate the nearly half billion dollar deficit that Luzerne County is anguishing under, new revenue will have to be raised. It is my intent to introduce whatever legislation is required to try and do this so that the tax burden is spread evenly across the board and where possible, on non-residents of the County. It isn't equitable to tax only home owners, or only those who reside in apartments to battle the deficit. New thinking is required to seriously solve this problem," Simpson said.
"If elected, I intend to propose a raise in the hotel occupancy tax by one to two percent on the 3200 hotel rooms within Luzerne County. This will result in only a one or two dollar per night increase to those utilizing hotel rooms, and raise the county tax rate from 5% to 6% which would match the state rate of tax. I would also look into proposing a new entertainment tax that will affect the Mohegan Sun casino which was supposed to reduce property taxes for many in the county. I've seen no such decrease. I would also investigate levying a new tax of .25 for every movie ticket sold in the county, and an additional one dollar tax on every live event entertainment ticket sold at any Luzerne venue.
Any new taxes of this nature would be classified as "restricted revenue streams," so that the only permitted use for these new taxes would be to apply them directly to the deficit and nowhere else. I would also propose a "sunset" provision on these additional taxes that would make them expire and revert to the previous tax rate once the deficit reaches zero.
"I realize that these taxes might be controversial, but the Luzerne County Government must make concrete efforts to reduce the debt that is choking off growth in the county as well as taking badly needed revenue away from productive projects and services and instead going towards interest payments on the debt. We all have to face it: this debt isn't going away by itself."
Simpson said that if elected, he would urge the new council to examine all sources of revenue and examine how they are being used to the benefit of the county and make changes where necessary.
"The days when taxes were raised without a plan and with no concern for who they effected must end. Creative use of available new sources of income must be sought out and used so that taxes are fair to everyone and the county can avoid bankruptcy."
And the campaign web site: Bruce J. Simpson For Luzerne County Council