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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