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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cusick Proposes $5 "User Fee" on Vehicle Registrations

Next time you renew your vehicle registration, it might cost you an extra $5. Northampton County is considering imposing this "user fee" to help fund road improvements and bridge repairs.

In 2013, the state legislature enacted a massive gas tax, giving the Keystone State the highest gas taxes in the nation, even higher than California and New York. In addition, it authorized counties to impose a $5 "local use fee" on vehicle registrations, so long as the money is used for transportation. Nine counties have already enacted this additional tax. Should Northampton County be the tenth? That's a question Council contemplated yesterday.

"This is a user fee," explained Council president John Cusick, adding that roads and bridges have been a core government function since the days of the Roman Empire. "I think that this Council ought to look at this ... . It's my belief that we do have a significant use Potentially, we could offset property taxes with this."

Uh huh. Like the casino.

According to Cusick there are 280,000 vehicles registered in Northampton County, so this would mean $1.4 million in additional revenue for bridge repairs. The money could also be awarded to municipalities that need to make road repairs.

Lehigh County is waiting to see what Northampton decides to do before considering this tax itself.

Bob Werner immediately agreed to co-sponsor an ordinance imposing this new tax. "I'm all for the idea," said the announced Executive candidate. Mat Benol also called it a "good idea."

Glenn Geissinger is more doubtful. He spoke of "small business owners or people who have 20 trucks in their fleet.That's another hundred bucks."

Hayden Phillips also opposes this tax or "user fee."

Updated Saturday, 10 PM. A photograph of John Cusick has been deleted.I took the picture, and I believe it is a lousy one and unfair to him. Yes, I am a miserable bastard, but try to be fair when photographing people unless the story is humor.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

The bigger and more important question is why are salaries of state police being paid from gas taxes which were promised for bridges roads and highways? Secondly the Counties should be fighting for the state to take over all bridges. This is an expertise far away and above what counties possess

Anonymous said...

Another tax grab by greedy politicians who can't manage a budget. All these incompetent politicians should be thrown out on their ears. They can't practice budgetary restraint; so tax the public! Sounds like most of the school districts in the Lehigh Valley. That's all they know how to do; tax, tax, tax!

Anonymous said...

The real goal here is to be able to say "I never voted for any TAX increase."

This tactic has been going on for several years across the country. If not the term "FEE," it would be PRIVILEGE ASSESSMENT, COMMUNITY SUPPORT, or maybe, SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION.

Like hiding real inflation on consumer spending. Price of product remains the same. You're not supposed to notice the amount of what you purchased dropped 10% in size.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

So I can assume that if this goes through the Tatamy Rosd bridge will finally get replaced to ease the traffic back up on Sullivan Trail?

Anonymous said...

"Bob Werner immediately agreed to co-sponsor an ordinance imposing this new tax."

Bawhahahaha. This imbecile's like one of Pavlov's dogs when it comes to taxes. Take. Tak. Take. Government is a cornucopia of free stuff to a lifetime taker like Warner. He's sleazy and shouldn't be trusted with kids' lunch money.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

So, as a registered vehicle owner in Northampton County, PA all of the vehicle licensing and registration fees, gas taxes, and other county taxes and "assessments" levied on me can't fund road repairs? Now Werner wants another $5 TAX to be able to do his job? Well, at least I feel good about the fact that the thousands and thousands of tractor trailers destroying our roads will be paying their $5 too. Oh wait, they might not be registered here!

Anonymous said...

@6:53 See the very first post. When Act 89 was passed in 2013 it planned for $2.3 billion dollars to be available for road and bridge construction as well as a portion for mass transit and airports.

What was missed was that a SIZABLE chunk of that money was going to fund the PSP.

http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-highway-dollars-free-police-20160312-story.html

http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/9911622-74/state-police-funding

http://pahighwayinfo.org/2016/05/free-police-coverage-has-a-high-price-tag/

As of now, approximately $800M is being diverted from the motor license fund to the PSP. That is 35% of the planned revenue from Act 89. A lot of these costs are incurred due to the fact the the PSP provides FREE community policing to many municipalities that have disbanded their own police departments. That's right, while communities here pay for their own police, many across the Commonwealth do not and we subsidize them.

Many legislators are upset as they voted for Act 89 with the understanding that they would reap the benefits of new roads and bridges in their district (LOTS of ribbon cutting ceremonies). Imagine their surprise when they were informed of the current situation.

Anonymous said...

Cusick and gang need to get more in touch with society and their constituents. I rather the passed on fee to make sure the Weights and Measures department does their job properly, than pay an user fee for vehicle registration. The fee for Weights and Measures will go directly where needed. We don't need more bureaucracy with the State stepping in. And if there is a tax in place to fix our roads and bridges: 1-why do we need another fee/tax. 2- Why aren't our elected officials fighting the State to either get a bigger chunk of these monies to fix our roads and bridges and/or why aren't these monies being applied properly to the infrastructure? Instead of coming down from Williams Twsp to the Courthouse, he should come from the Palmer Twsp side through Wilson and Easton and take a real look at and feel of the infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Why bother with any of this. Pennsylvania doesn't know how to maintain much less build a road or bridge in the first place. Wait long enough and some elected federal politician from Pa. will save the day with everyones tax monies for PA.
In the meantime it's just business as usual

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Cusick and gang need to get more in touch with society and their constituents. I rather the passed on fee to make sure the Weights and Measures department does their job properly, than pay an user fee for vehicle registration. "

Hypocritically, Cusick opposes weights and measures, but is all for soaking drvers an extra $5 per vehicle for road and bridge repairs.

Since the County does have an obligation to maintain bridges, I believe this is a fair tax, but make no mistake, it is a tax. I'd rather see this than a hike in property taxes. This hits people like me, who rent but do use bridges and roads.

But the County should not keep all the money raised. Under this law, I could see it taking $1 MM per year for bridge repairs, The remaining money should go to the municipalities, in proportion to the amount of mileage in each community, for road repairs. Our roads might actually need even more attention.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"A lot of these costs are incurred due to the fact the the PSP provides FREE community policing to many municipalities that have disbanded their own police departments. That's right, while communities here pay for their own police, many across the Commonwealth do not and we subsidize them."

And I agree completely that any community that relies on PSP for coverage needs to pay for it or be disbanded, whether it is West Easton or Upper Mount Bethel. I can't think of anything more important than public safety, and believe local governments who fail to provide this basic function of government have no reason to exist.

Anonymous said...

If this happens we should do away with vehicle emission, or is a cash cow for the politicians. Vehicle emissions controls on today's cars if not working properly can be picked up at the time of state inspection without the phone call or the equipment they use.

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:29, If you want to make a comment that needlessly casts aspersions at another, sign your name.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Government is a cornucopia of free stuff to a lifetime taker like Warner. He's sleazy and shouldn't be trusted with kids' lunch money."

... says someone who lacks the personal integrity to sign his name.

Anonymous said...

We should have a "County Commissioners Chair Fee" of $100 every time they use one of the County-owned chairs in council chambers.

gruntled said...

To think that raising property taxes not affect renters seems somewhat naive.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It does ... indirectly. But a tax on vehicle registrations is a direct tax on renters like me. It makes the indirect tax of a property tax hike a little less likely. Just a little, mind you.

Pippysqueek said...

Sweet- now the 'user fee' can have a good time with my $52 a paycheck 'commuter fee'.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

When was the last time that any government agency, whether state, local or federal, did a review of their operations, to become more efficient, cut fat,and possibly cut their budget, never, it is well known that the turnpike commission and bridge commission is loaded with political pay off jobs, I would bet the DOT is too. I do know that some township governments have eliminated positions and cut taxes, but is unheard of in other parts of government. These people are incompetent to manage money, their only answer is to raise taxes, They will never have enough.

Anonymous said...

Still do not have any idea how a wingnut like Cusick got elected again. And to boot, he got elected Council President. He has an inflated ego. I hope he never gets elected to anything ever again.

Anonymous said...

Well I hope the tea party/Republicans will finally be honest about their silly politicians. They swept them in three years ago in county government., What have they accomplished? They passed a 10% property tax hike their first year before they even knew what was going on. They tried for 20% but that would not fly. They got elected and end up running for other offices. Now they want to impose a "fee" on county car registrations.

Thank you Tea Party for your fiscal watchdogs you promise voters. They will tax and spend the county to financial security.,

What a pile of bnullcrap you guys are.

The real, reality of teabonics.

JoAnn Kennedy said...

Oh please it's not a user fee it's another nuisance fee to just travel around - please do not let me have to get the information about the difference between driving commercial vehicles versus travelling. It's A US FED Supreme court decision. (yes, I know it's about drivers license fees, but I have now seen it on cars with plates that are not your typical PA registered plate. These fees and nuisance taxes are never ending and the insatiable appetite and the never enough in the fund attitudes have to be questioned and reigned in. I hate when they take away natural rights and charge a fee to US to get them back

it's a version of the Kenny soda tax for Nor Co. Now tell us is it really going to be used for roads ?

JoAnn Kennedy said...

What I want to know is why does site have more information on it than the local Lehigh Valley Live ? why is that?

Anonymous said...

Because the Satae Police are $80,000.00 a year glorified ticket takers. Just more givermint waste at the barrel of a gun

Anonymous said...

Since when does the County maintain roads? They don't. The County has Bridges to maintain and they don't do that very well. They probably don't have the money to maintain the bridges so they look at this tax as necessary. Now tell me this.....Does each municipality have a County Bridge inside their boundaries. I don't think so. So does this mean that the municipalities with no County Bridges must subsidize the municipalities with the bridges. That's just like these police departments. Why must I subsidize the municipalities with no police departments. Cusick and Werner kind of suck on this one.

Anonymous said...

Sort of like counties without an Interstate subsidize counties that have one. Pull your head our of your ass. Must be a Trumpet!

Peter J.Cochran said...

I would change FEE'S right away to anyone moving here from another state. From New York city the fee would be 2000.00 bucks from Plainfield ,N.J. 10,000 bucks because that what they are costing us he because of their bad behavior . Our rates used to be low but they are creeping up BECAUSE OF these drivers from other venues. They 'push people on the road and act like bullies with BMW/s if they have some cash -the bottom feeders are always in wrecks and suits as the result. this cost us here.

Anonymous said...

Cusick looks like a serial killer in that photo.

Anonymous said...

Beady bloodshot eyes. Scraggly beard. The "Cueball Strangler."

Bernie O'Hare said...

In fairness, the quality of the photograph is more of a reflection on my subpar skills than on Cusick. Although I admit I have a low opinion of him, I try my best not to use unflattering photographs (believe me, I could), and should have taken several more of him. I only had one photo of him, and one of Peg. I went with him because he was a little more involved in the story than Peg. Cusick usually photographs well, and I am going to replace this photograph in a few weeks with one that is more fair. The guy dresses respectfully, is neat, butt my picture misrepresents him and is unfair. In face, I will take it down now.

Anonymous said...

You are a man of honor, Bernie. That photo unintentionally became the butt of jokes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I don't blame readers for poking fun. I blame myself for being such a shitty photographer.