Scranton, Lackawanna County - In a 51-page decision late Wednesday, a panel of three judges in Lackawanna County rejected plans for a controversial commuter tax in Scranton.
The written decision was released just before 4:30 PM.
The commuter tax called for an additional one-percent tax on people who work in Scranton but live outside the city.
There are more than 22,000 commuters in Scranton but the judge's decision means for the time being, they will not have to pay.
As many commuters left downtown Scranton Wednesday night, they expressed relief over the decision. They said the judges made the right decision.
"I'm all for it. That's ridiculous (commuter tax idea). You've gotta work here and then you've gotta pay taxes here and you've gotta pay taxes there?" Carmen Phoomahal of Old Forge said.
City leaders said the commuter tax was needed to balance the 2013 budget.
At a two-day court hearing last week, administrators testified the commuter tax would have brought in at least $2.5 million to city coffers.
The judges rejected the commuter tax request because, according to their written decision, the city did not mean its burden for the tax.
"I'm kinda happy," Jon Mele of Moscow said. "We get enough taxes taken out every week anyway so why take more out when you're just going to work just because you're living in a different city."
In their 51-page decision, the judges specifically said Scranton did not implement at least two provisions of the city's revised recovery plan.
One of the provisions involved donations from non-profits in the city, known as PILOTS. City leaders budgeted $1.3 million for 2013 but testified in court that they had not been able to secure any money so far.
Commuters felt the tax was nothing but taxation without representation because they would not have had any say in how it was spent.
"The pay isn't all that great out here so the little bit of money I do get, I don't want to give it back to the government," Phoomahal said.
Mayor Chris Doherty spoke with Eyewitness News after the decision was handed down. He said his administration and city council would have to review the decision and figure out how to fill the projected budget hole without the commuter tax.
Doherty said one possible option would be the sale of a city asset but he would not specify anything in particular.