Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Judge: Yes to Harrisburg tax hike; No to bond bailout

1% state-imposed tax hike stands, but Harrisburg has to spend the money on cops and firefighters -- not schools, and not the incinerator bonds that have driven the state capital city near bankruptcy.

Judge: Yes to Harrisburg tax hike; No to bond bailout


Commonwealth Court Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter this evening gave state-appointed Harrisburg receiver William Lynch part of what he wanted despite opposition by Harrisburg's City Council and financial officers: From Leadbetter's order:

   "The Petition [by receiver Lynch] is GRANTED as to the tax increase and City Council shall, within 15 days, enact a 1% temporary increase [to 2%], effective for one year, in the earned income tax rate on residents of the City of Harrisburg, to be effective immediately upon enactment; Subsequent temporary increase in the earned income tax rate may be sought by petition, if necessary;

    "The revenues generated as a result of the increase in the earned income tax rate shall be used only to pay for the services essential to the public health, safety or welfare; the revenues shall not be subject to sharing with a school district; no payments shall be made on debt associated with the Resource Recovery Facility until further order of the Court..."

Brigance also denied Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson's request to hire a spokesman at $75,000 a year. Thompson has mostly supported the receiver, unlike other elected Harrisburg officials.

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PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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