About 70 mayors, council members and managers from municipalities across the state gathered in Harrisburg yesterday to discuss shared economic problems...from a lack of revenues, to pension obligations to health care costs. Officials of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, which hosted the forum, said "we are not approaching a crisis, we're in it and need some solutions.
City Councilman Bill Peduto, who took part in the meetings, told DUQ that it's not just Pittsburgh, there are 19 municipalities in Act 47 and another 33 in the early stages of Act 47...."the Pennsylvania Economy League stated that it's impossible for cities in Pennsylvania to remain out of distressed status under the present system, so we need to change the system."
Peduto says he talked with the mayor of Lancaster who is considering laying off the entire police force, and the mayor of Harrisburg who might have to declare bankruptcy...."And it's not because of the national economic status or recession, it's because of the formula of how we fund cities, and what rules we're given to operate by, by the state which are destined to make us fail."
Peduto says the League is recommending revenue sharing to make up for tax dollars lost to municipalities who host a lot of non-profit organizations. But he admitted that the legislature doesn't want to hear about revenue sharing this year. According to Peduto, the League is also suggesting that since Governor Rendell has proposed changing the sales tax, by reducing the rate but expanding what is taxed, the legislature should consider allowing municipalities, counties and school districts share in a 1% sales tax.