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Act 47 still undecided

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Harrisburg City is still on the distressed cities list, despite urging legislators this morning to allow them to exit Act 47.

The city wanted to get off that list but keep the benefits of Act 47, which is the extra taxes on Harrisburg residents.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse was confident this morning believing legislators would approve their plan to leave Act 47.

"We’re not asking for anything new and I’ll have you know that that earned income tax revenue is paid by city residents, it’s something nobody enjoys paying who lives in the city, but we do as the sacrifices that have been made under Act 47," said Papenfuse.

The proposed amendment to act 47 -- not approved by the state legislature.

Speaker Mike Turzai tells me it didn't make it into the House today.

His last update on the city and Act 47 was a couple months ago.

"The coordinator recommended and, I quote you, a three year exit plan shall be prepared for the city which will include the initial stages of a strategy designed to moderate the impact of the city's burden on it's annual operating budgets and improve the city’s ability to improve long term sustainability."

Financial expert Gene Veno says the city needs a new plan to bring in revenue, moving away from taxing people who work in the city.

"Hopefully bringing in industry and other businesses that will be willing to add to the tax base and the employee base and I think that’s part of the mayors goal is to get this city on the right track as he’s been trying and moving again," said Veno.

Papenfuse says if the city continues under Act 47, he believes property taxes will only sky rocket.

Exiting the act, he explains, gives the city more options on handling their finances.

"Once the City is able to exit act 47 we’ll be able to responsibly borrow, responsibly refinance our debt, access markets that aren’t open to us."

Turzai believes Harrisburg should stay under Act 47 at this time.

He says he and several other legislators don't support them exiting.

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