|January 23, 2023 09:39 AM
|Representative P. Michael Sturla
|All House members
|Fee for Municipalities on Pennsylvania State Police Coverage
|I plan to reintroduce my bill (H.B. 1165 of 2021) that would require municipalities relying on the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for part-time and full-time coverage to pay a fee for those services.
In 2017, the PSP estimated that providing services to municipalities without any local police force cost $234 per person. As a result, these communities received over $641 million annually in free services. The PSP most recently received $500 million from the Motor License Fund in the 2022-23 state budget for these communities.
Roughly two-thirds of Pennsylvania municipalities rely on PSP for patrol services in lieu of a full-time local police force. And while the area covered by PSP encompasses 82% of the Commonwealth’s land mass, it benefits only 25% of Commonwealth residents. Meanwhile, the remaining 75% of PA residents who pay local taxes to fund their full-time local police services are also paying state taxes and fees to support PSP, essentially subsidizing free police protection for municipalities that choose not to fund their own local patrols.
While the state constitution does allow for Motor License Fund money to be used for policing of the roads and highways by PSP, it prohibits the use of these funds for other non-highway related policing duties like burglary, shoplifting, crime investigation, and others that the PSP routinely performs in municipalities with no local police department.
My proposal would have the annual overall fee charged to municipalities correlate with Section 1798.2E of the Fiscal Code to close the gap in funding that PSP will no longer be receiving from the Motor License Fund. Municipalities that receive part-time PSP services would be charged a rate of one-third of what municipalities receiving full-time PSP patrol services are charged. Any municipality opting to implement their own local police force or join their neighboring municipalities and create a regional police force will no longer have to pay a fee. This fee is still substantially less than the actual costs of providing these PSP services.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.
Introduced as HB684