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.