Thank You

Thank you to the following organizations for their continued support of our research and this Data Dashboard, which is part of Project STIR (Sparking Transformation using Information & Research).

Moses Taylor Foundation
The Robert H. Spitz Foundation
Willary Foundation
Scranton Area Community Foundation
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund
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Government

This section of the report deals primarily with county government fiscal affairs. The indicators reflect governmental size, scope, and financial health.

Revenue & Expenditures

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Lackawanna County Revenue & Expenditures

Source: Lackawanna County

Luzerne County Revenue & Expenditures

Source: Luzerne County

Taxes

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County Taxes Per Capita

Sources: Lackawanna & Luzerne County

Tax Rates

In 2021, total property tax rates in both counties remain unchanged from the prior year. The most recent adjustment, effective in January 2020, was an 11 percent increase in the total real estate millage rate in Lackawanna County.

 

Lackawanna County’s property tax rate is significantly higher than Luzerne County’s rate. For several reasons, however, this does not necessarily reflect actual property tax costs incurred by property owners. First, there are differences in how and when properties in the two counties were assessed. This means the two counties’ ratios of assessed value for tax purposes to actual market value are different. Furthermore, tax rates included in this report do not include school taxes, which typically comprise the largest portions of all property owners’ tax bills.

2020 – 2021 Tax Rates​

Source: PA Department of Community & Economic Development

Lackawanna County Tax Rates (mills)Luzerne County Tax Rates (mills)
Real Estate - General Purpose41.60001.2358
Debt Service12.50001.1836
Library2.82000.0459
Culture and Education Fund1.0000
Community Colleges0.3240
Roads & Bridges0.1070
Criminal Justice1.9977
Human Services0.4260
Hotel Room Rental (Percent)7%5%
Real Estate Total63.92005.3200

Sales Tax Remittance

Sales tax remittance in both counties and statewide grew for two consecutive years from 2016 through 2019. From the 2016-2017 to 2017-2018 years, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties saw sales tax remittance grow by 9.2 and 0.9 percent, respectively. From 2017-2018 to 2018-2019, Lackawanna County’s remittance grew by another 5.3 percent, and Luzerne County’s grew by 2.1 percent. The commonwealth as a whole saw nearly seven percent year-over-year growth most recently.

In 2019-2020, sales tax remittance dropped in all three geographies, likely affected by disruptions in commerce caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luzerne County saw the lowest total among all years analyzed. The year-over-year declines in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, 6.8 and 5.8 percent, respectively, were larger than the statewide decline of 2.5 percent.

Sales Tax Remittance

Source: PA Department of Revenue.

Government Employment

Government employment presented in the table includes staff of federal, state, and local government entities. In the two counties, government sector activity supported over 27,000 jobs in 2019.

 

Between 2015 and 2019, government employment fell by about four percent in Lackawanna County, while Luzerne County and Pennsylvania saw very small increases of .24 percent and .02 percent, respectively.

Government Employment

Source: Chmura Economics via JobsEQ