After the PA House gives final passage to Senate Bill 1151 a.k.a the Harrisburg Takeover Bill. Right before the vote, Representative Ron Buxton took the floor as “representative of the City of Harrisburg” and asked for support of the bill. Final House vote: 177-18.
Statement by Harrisburg City Councilmembers Eugenia Smith, Susan Brown Wilson, Wanda Williams and Brad Koplinski
We are not surprised by the actions taken by the State Senate and House. The legislature, led by Senator Jeff Piccola, has changed the rules of how Act 47 works after Harrisburg entered the process. That is not right and it is un-American. First they attempted to restrict the city’s ability to generate revenue and negotiate with its creditors, which were allowed in the Act 47 law, as well as penalize the city if it filed for bankruptcy. But that wasn’t good enough. Now this takeover legislation gives a receiver unlimited power to sell any resource the city and its authorities have, without allowing Harrisburg an alternate source of revenue. Wall Street can get paid 100 cents on the dollar and the people of Harrisburg will be subjected to exorbinant property tax and other increases so that we can pay our operating budget. And after all the city’s assets are sold and the city is on its knees, the receiver has the ability to file for bankruptcy to pick the bones of our city clean. But by then, all the creditors have been paid, so the bankruptcy would go after our employees and pensioners. And according to the House Committee on Appropriations, the receiver will cost over $2 million a year to provide these services.
The City Council lawfully filed a petition for bankruptcy last week to protect the taxpayers of Harrisburg. This was to allow all the parties to sit at the table, so that there can be a global solution with shared pain, with all the stakeholders providing a substantive, but fair contribution to solving Harrisburg’s financial crisis. This process also stops all of the current lawsuits against the city and allows everyone to take a step back and reconsider their contributions to this solution. We ask that the Governor either not sign or not implement SB 1151, to allow time for the bankruptcy process to work through the system.