Suburban communities like Upper Mount Bethel, Williams and Lower Macungie would prefer to let others help pay their bill for state police coverage. Thus, Easton residents, who already pay more than anyone else in the Lehigh Valley for police coverage at an annual cost of slightly over $350 per resident, are helping pay for state police coverage of wealthy suburbs.
Currently, there's a state legislative effort to impose a fee of $156 per resident on municipalities that have no police coverage. Lower Macungie would pay $4.8 million for state police coverage. Upper Mount Bethel and Williams Townships would both be assessed around $1 million. Even tiny West Easton, which was dropped by Easton police, would be assessed nearly $200,000.
This is a matter of fairness. State Rep. P. Michael Sturla, the Lancaster County Democrat who has proposed this assessment, makes this argument.
It is true that all Pennsylvania residents help pay for the Pennsylvania State Police through state taxes, but 79% of the population is paying for the Pennsylvania State Police patrols and their own local police department. This is double taxation and unfair to a majority of our constituents. Conversely, 21% of the population is getting 100% of the patrols and only paying 21% of the cost.His bill will die soon. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee, where it has languished. Though he does have some Republican support, the only Lehigh Valley state rep who signed on as a sponsor is Mike Schlossberg.
It is inequities like these that lead to inequities like Easton's commuter tax.