Pa. may charge towns for state police coverage

    Pennsylvania lawmakers want towns to start paying up for state police protection. A new bill would impose fees on small municipalities that don’t have their own police departments, and instead rely on the state police to handle law enforcement matters.

    Pennsylvania lawmakers want towns to start paying up for state police protection. A new bill would impose fees on small municipalities that don’t have their own police departments, and instead rely on the state police to handle law enforcement matters.

    Listen:
    [audio:100128SDPOLICE.mp3]

    The idea isn’t new, and previous bills charging fees to local governments for state police protection haven’t gotten far. But House Local Government Committee Chairman Robert Freeman, a Northampton County Democrat, says another tough fiscal year will force lawmakers to find new revenue sources everywhere they can.

    The panel will likely vote soon on a measure charging a hundred dollar-a-resident fee to municipalities with populations above 10,000 who don’t have their own police forces. Freeman says it’s a matter of fairness.

    Freeman: When you have communities of 34 or 40-thousand population there’s obviously a sufficient tax base to afford their own police force, and they rely on free state police services, there’s something wrong with that.

    The measure’s sponsor, Armstrong County Democrat John Pallone, says the bill would generate $41 to $42 million dollars a year.
    He wants all of the revenue to go to the State Police, but Freeman says the bill will likely be amended before a vote.

    Lawmakers who oppose the measure say it would create one more financial burden for cash-strapped local governments.

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