Philly's 311 center cutting hours

August 28, 2009 12:31:01 PM PDT
Philadelphia's 311 call center will have its hours cut starting Saturday due to the city's ongoing budget crisis.The new hours will be 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. It will be closed on Sunday.

The service had been operating on a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week schedule.

The city blames the state legislature's failure to pass a temporary 1 per cent increase in the city's sales tax and changes in the city's pension obligations.

The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would overhaul state laws governing municipal pension funds and generate $700 million to avoid massive layoffs and service cuts in Pennsylvania's largest city.

The 38-9 vote followed brief statements by senators who supported the measure, which would require House approval before it could be sent to Gov. Ed Rendell to be signed into law.

A spokesman for House Speaker Keith McCall, D-Carbon, said the House is unlikely to convene this week. House members need time to review the complicated municipal-pension changes in the Senate bill, spokesman Bob Caton said.

Both the Senate measure and a bill that the House passed earlier this month would give Philadelphia officials tools they have sought to balance the city's budget - the authority to increase the local sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent for five years and permission to defer a portion of the city's pension contributions.

The House bill dealt exclusively with Philadelphia's problems. The Senate legislation will affect all of Pennsylvania's more than 3,000 municipal pension funds, setting up a system that combines relief measures with regulatory intervention, including a state takeover of funds with the most serious financial problems.


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