Tuesday, July 28, 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

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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 drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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