Northeast PA Mayor’s Fireworks Letter

The Mayors of Northeast Pennsylvania have joined together to express their distress with the increased use of consumer-grade Roman candles, bottle rockets and other aerial fireworks, which were made legal to purchase in Pennsylvania under Act 43 of 2017.

Last year, residents of our cities and boroughs were besieged daily, from sundown to sunrise, with the constant deafening noise and reverberation of these fireworks. There is no doubt that the same commotion will be repeated this summer. The barrage of fireworks is detrimental to elderly residents, those who have young children and pets, and those who suffer from PTSD and the effect which these fireworks have on their peace of mind.

The additional 12% fireworks tax added to the State’s 6% sales tax is not worth the stress and unease caused by the constant noise of the fireworks. Residents fear that these aerial fireworks may land on their homes and cause damage to their properties and harm to their families. There is no way to predict where the aerial fireworks will land. Under Act 43, the fireworks available for purchase in Pennsylvania may not be used within 150 feet of an occupied structure. As cities and boroughs, populated by thousands of residents, it is difficult to find such open space. Unfortunately, Act 43 preempts municipalities from regulating consumer fireworks via a municipal ordinance.

As Mayors, we are asking our elected representatives to adopt legislation to repeal Act 43, thereby restricting the use of consumer-grade fireworks. Additionally, we request that municipalities be allowed to set their own firework regulations so that the ordinances can protect the safety of its residents.

In closing, we remind our legislative representatives that the income earned by the State from the taxation of consumer-grade fireworks is not worth more than the safety of Pennsylvania’s residents.

Mayor George C. Brown
City of Wilkes-Barre

Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti
City of Scranton

Mayor Mike Lombardo
City of Pittston

Mayor Jeff Cusat
City of Hazleton

Mayor Kevin Coughlin
City of Nanticoke

Mayor Derek Slaughter
City of Williamsport

Mayor Paul Roberts
Borough of Kingston