A decade ago when real estate up-and-comer Charles Hibble looked for a headquarters for his business, Scranton was a natural choice.
He invested $1.2 million converting an aging building on Penn Avenue into modern offices and apartments. Mr. Hibble accepted real estate tax and parking cost increases and the mercantile tax as costs of doing business. When city leaders began talking about a commuter tax in 2012, the owner of Weichert Realty Hibble & Associates reached his breaking point and moved out.
“I was getting pressure from my employees, who could work from anywhere — their homes or cars,” he said. “They didn’t want to pay another tax.”
Mr. Hibble’s move prefaced an employer exodus from the city. After being kicked around and eventually shot down in court, the commuter tax came back in the proposal of consultant Henry Amoroso, who cited a state law that allows municipalities to impose a commuter tax to bolster distressed pension funds. Scranton City Council swiftly approved the local income tax on commuters, which would cost employees earning $50,000 as much as $375 a year. Combined with a proposed increase in the emergency service tax – yet another withdrawal from the wages of commuters — the cost of having a job in the city has mounted.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
SWIFTWATER — Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday’s announcement to extend the Route 6/11 Corridor Natural Gas Line is about creating and attracting jobs but, more important, he said it’s about retaining jobs already in Pennsylvania.
Corbett visited the campus of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi in Monroe County, to announce the $5 million extension project, made possible in part through the recent release of a $5 million Economic Growth Initiative grant.
While Corbett said the project is expected to boost job creation and retention in the Northeast Pennsylvania region, he said by lowering utility costs to large employers such as the vaccine maker the 2,000 jobs at the Swiftwater facility — plus 500 contractor positions — are likely to stay.