HARRISBURG – Department of Community and Economic Development acting Secretary George Cornelius said intergovernmental cooperation is key to stretching tax dollars and improving Pennsylvania’s business climate.
“The inter-municipal approach is a smart, cost-effective solution that will improve the delivery of local services,” Cornelius said Tuesday during the 87th annual Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors conference at the Hershey Lodge. “There is much to be gained by working across boundaries to pool resources and share services.
“In government, just as in business, it’s critical to operate at an appropriate scale so redundancies can be eliminated and resources can be put to the best possible use.”
Cornelius pointed to reforms of Pennsylvania’s formerly fragmented earned income tax collection system as an example of improvements the commonwealth has made that will create savings for municipalities and foster a more competitive business climate.
Under Act 32, which Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed into law last July, the number of earned income tax collectors statewide will be reduced from 560 to 69 by Jan. 1, 2012. The streamlined process will give the state an advantage in retaining and attracting business by making the collection system more uniform and less complicated. It will also help municipalities and school districts capture an estimated $237 million in lost tax revenues a year, according to the Pennsylvania Economy League, and it will provide a more user-friendly collection process for taxpayers.
DCED is hosting regional workshops to explain procedures involved with the implementation of Act 32, including a training session during today’s PSATS conference. Other regional workshops will be announced.
“The transition to the new system won’t happen overnight,” Cornelius said. “We encourage local leaders to partner with us in this transition and attend these training sessions to ensure a smooth transition and a better implementation of the new tax collection system.”
Cornelius said there are other ways local governments can share services that would reduce the cost of operations and make government services more useful.
“By cooperating with neighboring jurisdictions and sharing services we can eliminate costly and wasteful redundancies and create plans that would be far more conducive to sound economic and community development objectives and strategies than are possible under the quilt work system we have now,” he said. “This cooperative approach also would allow us to better manage, utilize, and reinvest in our precious water, sewer, transportation, communications and parks infrastructure.”
For more information about the work of the Department of Community and Economic Development, including maps of the new tax collection district boundaries and their political subdivisions, as well as more information on Act 32, visit here or call 1-866-466-3972.