Gov. Corbett signs Harrisburg takeover legislation

Dear Readers, I don't know what to think except that it is extreme. I'm looking at the PA Constitution and don't see anything that would allow the state to take over a city. Maybe someone out there could enlighten me about where it says the state can take over a city? Blessings, Dona Witmer

Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 8:56 AM      http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/10/gov_corbett_signs_harrisburg_t.html

Gov. Tom Corbett early Thursday signed legislation allowing for the emergency state takeover of cash-strapped Harrisburg.

The House approved the bill Wednesday by a vote of 177-18. The Senate approved the legislation earlier this week by a vote of 37-13.

The law will allow for the state to take the capital city's checkbook away from its elected officials and hand it to a state-appointed manager. It would allow the governor to declare a state of fiscal emergency, which assures services such as police and fire protection would continue.

Corbett said he remains a strong proponent of allowing municipal government to solve its own financial problems, but that the state must act to preserve public safety if local officials fail to act. 

"I remain a strong proponent for municipal governments tackling their own problems and coming together to develop a fiscal recovery plan when necessary,'' Corbett said. "But when that fails to happen, the state has to take action to ensure public safety.''  

He said the new law would help enforce the Act 47 program, which is designed to help financially distressed cities recover without filing for federal bankruptcy protection.

"The bill signed into law today will help to enforce Act 47 when municipalities fail to adopt a fiscal recovery plan, making it clear that if there is a failure to act, the state will intervene,'' Corbett added. "This legislation does not change the overall goal, and that goal is for distressed third-class cities to adopt and implement a fiscal recovery plan that will lead to solvency.''

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