What will become of House bill 1828?

September 4, 2009 3:45:02 PM PDT
The budget impasse continues in Harrisburg, and therefore, the prospects are still there for a doomsday budget in Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters late today that Harrisburg's delay of a critical Tuesday vote on Philadelphia's $700-million budget relief sales tax hike and pension legislation brings Philadelphia even closer to implementing his "plan c" budget which features massive city hall layoffs and service cuts.

"We do not want to see nearly 1,000 police officers not working with us anymore, or 200 firefighters or numerous sanitation workers or health department workers," Mayor Nutter said.

The bill, House bill 1828, was amended by senate Republicans to change municipal pension systems across the state. State labor forces have joined the city unions to pressure house Democrats to strip these amendments from the bill and send it back to the senate. Big labor says the pension measures go too far.

"Legislation initially leaving the House to allow sales tax increase in the city of Philadelphia and allow much needed pension relief to the city was morphed into an attack on our collective bargaining rights and our pensions," Les Neri of the Pennsylvania Firefighters' Union said.

"This bill is really just a time bomb and we have to stop it," State Representative Bill Keller said.

The Mayor says notices will go out to city vendors late next week telling them the city has no money to pay bills and layoff notices will go out on September 18, unless the statehouse delivers on the Philadelphia bailout plan, House bill 1828.

One Harrisburg insider described House bill 1828 as a moving target, its destiny uncertain, as state lawmakers continue the political gamesmanship with Philadelphia once again twisting in the wind.


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