Pa. Senate approves Philadelphia relief package

Plan calls to raise sales tax rate
August 26, 2009 4:02:23 PM PDT
The Pennsylvania Senate has given its final approval to bill to make available hundreds of millions of dollars for the financially strapped city of Philadelphia while overhauling state laws that govern municipal pension funds. The Senate voted 38-9 on Wednesday to approve the measure, which still requires action by the House.

The Senate bill goes much further than the House version of the bill, which dealt exclusively with Philadelphia's problems. Both bills give the city what its political leaders most want - the authority to temporarily increase the sales tax rate and defer pension contributions to avoid the layoffs of about 3,000 employees.

Gov. Ed Rendell urged the House to move quickly in acting on the legislation and said he would be willing to sign the Senate version.

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