Tuesday, November 25, 2008
When Pennsylvania's county commissioners met in Harrisburg yesterday they warned state budget cuts could result in higher local taxes. Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes says state and federal funding reductions for human services - including child welfare and assistance to seniors – will force local taxpayers to make up the difference. She says, "We are at the point of crisis in our human service system, where we are seeing the development of waiting lists, literally, in many of our counties mine included, for seniors who are waiting for home-based services, for seniors who are waiting to get baths." The county commissioners are calling on Pennsylvania leaders to fund state mandates, avoid further cuts and enact a law that would allow counties to impose an income or sales tax to help cover the lost federal and state funding. Currently counties are only allowed to tax property unless the state has given specific approval for other taxes such as Allegheny County’s poured drink tax.