Scranton Businesses Boycott Scranton Government
Save Scranton, an organization located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has decided to take on the local Scranton government and hit them where it hurts. The Scranton government is notorious for being a bastion of nepotism, malfeasance and corruption (here). It is hardly responsive to its citizens with the result being a collapsing housing market, zero economic opportunities, poverty, and a city that owes over 300 million (here).
Being Robin Hood
The Scranton government has no money because of its insistence on doing things like giving government employees outrageously expansive retirement packages (here). In addition, they did not pay into these pensions, so they are facing bankruptcy. Their plan is to tax the people of Scranton into oblivion. The businesses of Scranton must pay a mercantile tax or “business privilege” tax just to operate in Scranton. The tax is 3% on the gross sales for any business in Scranton. Yes, for the privilege of working in a corrupt and dying city, you must give up 3% on gross sales. Save Scranton, lead by yours truly, decided to draft a petition indicating that the businesses of Scranton will no longer be paying this tax. Yes, we are having an ol’ fashion tax boycott! The thought process is that if we hit this already failing government where it hurts, it can only topple and fall much sooner. After all, they do not even have enough money to run day to day operations. They routinely depend on loans just to keep their doors open (here). Here is what the draft says:
SCRANTON EXCESSIVE TAXATION PETITION
We, the undersigned business owners and proprietors, draw the attention of the Scranton City Council to the following:
WHEREAS, the present and future success, goodwill and prosperity of the Great City of Scranton depends on the future success, goodwill and prosperity of businesses carrying on or exercising within the City of Scranton or attributable thereto any trade, business financial business or commercial activity, whether for profit or otherwise; and
WHEREAS, the statute formally referred to as Article VIII, § 428 of the City of Scranton Code, (hereinafter “Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax”), levies a three percent (3%) tax on the gross sales of all businesses carrying on or exercising within the City of Scranton or attributable thereto any trade, business financial business or commercial activity, whether for profit or otherwise; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned individuals believe and therefore aver that the Business Privilege and Mercantile Tax is unfair, unwarranted and punitive in nature, designed to penalize those individuals and companies who bring money, trade, business and other commercial activity into the Great City of Scranton; and
WHEREAS, the Great City of Scranton can only see prosperity and success by lowering taxes for businesses and business owners, which will attract other businesses to come and thrive in the Great City of Scranton, leading to a more sustained infrastructure, more economic prospects, more capital work projects, and a growing population; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned individuals, either individually or on behalf of a business entity, do hereby declare, aver and present that each will REFUSE to pay the Scranton Business Privilege Tax from the date of this Petition until the end of time.
THEREFORE, the undersigned individuals do hereby declare and attest that each will no longer remit payment to William Fox, Collector of Taxes for the City of Scranton for the Business Privilege Tax.
We have already obtained 70 signatures and we are just getting warmed up! Our position is quite clear – given the extent of infractions committed by the Scranton government – we believe that the people of Scranton should no longer support it. We will hit them in their wallets and force a bankruptcy. This is truly what all governments fear, the collective actions of the people. Of course, this has not been without its consequences. I was told before I even attempted anything that the Scranton government will retaliate. Nevertheless, enough of the people of Scranton are against the local government, so it is only a matter of time before the Scranton government collapses. There is a tipping point to everything and all the people of Scranton needed was a person bold enough to be a voice to their concerns. As far as I am concerned, this is a stunning triumph for liberty. The people of Scranton are coalescing in a historic fashion and showing their complete displeasure for their local government. The movement will only grow and I hope everyone keeps tabs on this stunning development.
* Gary St. Fleur is the founder of Save Scranton, an organization that campaigns against the corruption and malfeasance in the North Eastern Pennsylvania area, by utilizing grassroots efforts to enact reform.