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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: March 7, 2013 10:19 AM
From: Representative P. Michael Sturla
To: All House members
Subject: Amending the Liquid Fuels Tax Municipal Allocation Law
In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to rectify the inequity between municipalities that operate a local police department and those that rely solely on the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for their coverage. The PSP provides primary police coverage and services to only 21% of the state’s population, while locally-funded police departments provide full time police services to 72% of the population. Approximately 7% of the state’s population is covered through a combination of local police departments and the PSP.

For FY 2013/14, the Governor has proposed a transfer of $619,063,000 from the Motor License Fund to the PSP, $563,411,000 of which is budgeted for general government operations. Because the PA Constitution has restrictions that requires any MLF funds to be “used solely for construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of and safety on public highways and bridges and costs and expenses incident thereto”, these funds are, in effect, those municipalities’ share of road funding. As you can see, an enormous amount of tax dollars are transferred to the PSP and subsequently used to patrol municipalities that do not have their own local police department.

There is no question that all Pennsylvania residents help to fund the PSP through the taxes they pay, but it is also true that 79% of the state’s population is paying for both PSP patrols and local police services. In other words, 21% of the population is receiving 100% of the police services, but only paying 21% of the costs. It is simply unfair that 79% of our constituents are paying twice.

My legislation would amend the Liquid Fuels Tax Municipal Allocation Law by allowing the State Police Commissioner to determine the per capita cost of patrolling those municipalities without a local police department, multiplying that figure by their population, and then reducing the municipality’s MLF share of road and bridge funding by the calculated amount. This legislation will allow the State Police Commissioner to exclude the costs of patrolling interstate highways in municipalities regardless of whether there is a local police department or not since those highways generally serve more people from outside a municipality than from within.

We cannot continue to transfer a larger portion of the MLF each year so the PSP can offer police services to those municipalities that have decided not to operate their own local police department – while a majority of our constituents pay twice. This legislation would also free up approximately $560 million per year for road and bridge work without raising a cent of state tax. I challenge you to find another transportation funding proposal that finds this level of road and bridge funding and doesn’t increase state taxes.

Please join me in sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB1143