Pa. House reaffims opposition to police tax

April 13, 1999|By DON AINES

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A proposal from the Ridge administration to charge some Pennsylvanians for state police protection had already been removed from a House budget bill, but legislators took another step to stop it Tuesday by approving an amendment offered by State Rep. Jeff Coy.

By a vote of 193 to 6, House members approved the amendment prohibiting the state from charging residents fees for state police protection.

"I thought it was important the House make a statement on the issue," Coy said after the vote. He said it accomplished two purposes.

First was to show there was little support for the measure, which would have charged $75 per person to residents in some municipalities without police departments. Different proposals would have applied to townships and boroughs with populations over 5,000 or 10,000 people.


Greene, Guilford and Antrim townships in Franklin County all have populations over 10,000, but no police departments, according to U.S. Census figures.

Secondly, Coy said the amendment would prevent any action by the administration to impose fees by executive order or other means.

This year was the third time Gov. Tom Ridge proposed the per capita fee. Coy said the $80 million proposal would not have provided any more troopers for the affected municipalities.

"That would have made a proposal like this more palatable," he said.

The House Appropriations Committee had pulled the proposal from the 1999-2000 budget before the House approved the budget Tuesday. The Senate will consider its version of the budget next week, according to Coy's office.

Earlier this year, the state issued a study recommending the creation of two regional police departments in Franklin County covering several of the municipalities that now rely on state police protection.

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