EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Wolf on raising school taxes: “not a time to burden any Pennsylvanian with some additional responsibility or tax”

During the most recent School Board meeting of the Loyalsock Township School District on May 13, the second reading of the proposed 2020-2021 budget and extended discussion took place.

The sticking point for multiple board members is the proposed tax increase of .25 mills.

Four weeks ago Mike Zicollello was the lone no vote (7-1) on the first reading of the proposed budget including the tax increase.

Zicolello cited the financial pressures of the pandemic on residents as reason to hold off on the increase.

At the most recent meeting the vote was 5-4 in favor of the tax increase of .25 mills with votes as follows.

For the increase: Chip Edmonds, Christina Kiessling, Robert Leidhecker, Melvin Wentzel and Paul Young II.

Against the increase: Valerie Komarnicki, Carolyn Strickland, John Raymond and Zicolello.

An additional work session is slated for June 17 and a final vote for the following week.


Yesterday, talkwilliamsport posed the following to Governor Wolf and Treasurer Torsella.

Do you believe School Districts should be raising taxes during the pandemic?

Treasurer Joe Torsella: “I think that the fiscal implications of the pandemic are…we’re only beginning to grapple with and and the visibility is quite unclear as we look at the state’s budget.

For example that a significant amount of revenues are not in this fiscal year, some of them are coming in next fiscal year.

I know we’re going to hear from the IFO soon.

I think the road ahead, the dimensions of what’s happening to revenues is not yet entirely clear.

I think those discussions are premature.”

Governor Tom Wolf added, “Yeah, I agree with the treasurer I mean.

We’re in a pandemic and this is not a time to to burden any Pennsylvanian with some additional responsibility or tax.

So I think we, all of us in a position to…to lighten the load for Pennsylvanians we ought to be looking to do that rather than the reverse.”


The Williamsport School District is also struggling with a decision on a no tax increase budget for 2020-2021.

Jersey Shore School District is facing a budget deficit of more than a million dollars.

East Lycoming (Hughesville) is looking at a .51 mills tax increase to make up for $700,000 in lost revenues.

Montgomery had already announced a .90 mills tax increase prior to the pandemic.

Montoursville, Muncy and South Williamsport School Districts are all looking at no tax increase budgets for 2020-2021.

Stay tuned to talkwilliamsport.com for developments on this story.