Eight Scranton taxpayers have filed a mandamus suit against the city, saying it has been collecting taxes above the legal limit Pennsylvania has established.

The group, led by mayoral candidate Gary St. Fleur, filed the lawsuit March 2 in the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas.

According to the lawsuit, Scranton is taxing excessively under Pennsylvania Act 511. The plaintiffs also say the city's most recent budget shows a $10 million overage.

The move is a response to the court's Feb. 23 approval of Scranton's tripling of the local services tax from $52 to $156 annually for all persons making at least $15,600 per year. The tax applies equally to residents and non-residents.

Scranton, the 76,000-population county seat in northeast Pennsylvania, must reapply for the tax annually. Visiting Judge John Braxton's ruling marks the third straight year of court approval.

City officials say the tax increase was necessary to balance its budget and legal under the Act 47 workout program for distressed communities, under which Scranton has been enrolled since 1992.

According to St. Fleur, the city was served the morning of March 2 through Mayor Bill Courtright and city Business Administrator David Bulzoni, who have 20 days to respond.

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