Rated one of Pennsylvania's top blog/sites, the LuLac Political Letter delves into issues of politics on all levels (with special concentration on Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties: thus the name LULAC) and pop culture.
Sunday, June 03, 2012
The LuLac Edition #2077, June 3rd, 2012
The onion peeling of Luzerne County government continues on.
PEELING BACK THE ONION
This past week on LuLac you saw some articles on County Manager Lawton making comments on the 2013 budget as well as others weighing in on how he should approach this task. Whatever your feeling was on how the budget would get done, as per the method and whether or not he should consult the work left done by Tom Pribula, we all have to agree that this thing is more of mess that predates both men. There are certain basics to running a government and one of them is collecting taxes. The previous Commissioners recognized that and hired a firm to make a report on the tax deadbeats of the county. Today’s Citizen’s Voice reveals some staggering information. There are serious tax dodgers in the County and they aren’t the little guys like me and you. In the Voice report, Dave Janoski writes that there are 16 million dollars in taxes that are unpaid dating back to the 80s. Then there are other property owners who have declared bankruptcy, making the taxes currently noncollectable. Whew! There was an investigation going on by the Feds but according to an e mail the case is closed. And the people who had their hands in this aren’t talking. Janoski reports that Virginia Augello who ran the office and is retired regards it as finished business. The Solicitor Neil O’Donnell is not commenting and the previous person in charge of the budget in Luzerne County, Sam Diaz and who oversaw the Tax Claim Bureau is also not talking. Diaz is in charge now of the Commonwealth medical College finances. (Wonder how that’s working out?) Janoski points out that it wasn’t until the appointment of interim director Mary Dysleski that the longstanding unpaid taxes were discovered. The company hired by the Commissioners is called Northeast Revenue Service LLC. In case you are wondering if they are doing their job or not, The Voice reports that the organization has increased collections, boosting the county's annual revenue from back taxes and tax sales by more than 20 percent. And better yet, they are going after businesses and cronies and those “connected” and will try to take some type of court action. That’s good news to regular folks who trusted the officials in power back then to at least do something. Janoski sites the case of a company in Wyoming JPM Realty owes taxes dating back to 1994. More than $200,000 in revenue. What kills me is that so many of these “businessmen” and “community leaders” paint themselves as, oh what do the Republicans call them, oh yeah “job creators” and they have been the most irresponsible in cheating the people in this county. If an unemployed single mom was late on her taxes or a small start up hair salon, you’d bet your ass that property would be seized. But a big shot “job creator” can linger on for nearly two decades!!! And the most disturbing part of this story is that before this firm was hired, what the hell were the people in charge of this office doing? Why did it take a Mary Dysleski to find out what previous incompetents couldn’t? Is it maybe they didn’t understand their job? Is it because they had job security because of who they knew and who hired them? Or were they just stupid? It’s too bad the Feds can’t prosecute people on stupidity because this would be the most classic of cases.
Finally, one has to ask this question. Can you imagine what this County could have been if the proper amount of taxes were collected the right way? Lawton, like Pribula before him and the County Council have to develop a new budget with one behind their back! That is incredible. This latest story is just another layer being pulled back of how really horrific this institution of government was in Luzerne County. When you an’t do anything as basic as collect revenue, it’s a disgrace. But maybe I’m being too hard on the business deadbeats for trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the County. The people in charge made it so easy and you guys, after all, were “job creators”. Yeah, and I’m playing Center field tomorrow night at CitiField!
Location: Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Author of the book "A Radio Story/We Wish You Well In Your Future Endeavors" and "Leges Vitae" "26 Rules of Life" and the new novel, "Weather Or Knot". The blog editor also writes various news articles and columns as well as upcoming literary projects. The blog editor was a frequent guest on WYOU TV'S INTERACTIVE NEWSCASTS when political issues were discussed on the national, state and local level. Currently, Yonki is a weekly panelist on WYLN TV 35's Friday Topic A program. He also appears on the Hazleton, PA. stations Election Night coverage and does special projects and stories for WYLN TV 35's 10PM Newscast "Late Edition".