The Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC has issued the following statement in response to Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s announcement about the fiscal condition in the city:
The Chamber & CREDC supports the city’s attempt to get authorization from state government to continue the higher rates on the Local Services Tax (LST) and Earned Income Tax (EIT) while exiting Act 47, however it is clear this is not happening this budget cycle. The alternative in the short term, as the Commonwealth’s Act 47 Team has stated, is that Harrisburg will likely stay in the Act 47 program for three more years which will permit the city to keep the special tax rates, as well as further stabilize the city’s greatly improved operations over the next three years with the state’s help.
We understand the need, and appreciate and support the Mayor’s efforts to establish a long term solution. We agree Harrisburg can’t wait three years for a solution and would encourage action by the General Assembly and Governor sooner rather than later. We also understand Harrisburg is not the only one of the 2,562 municipalities in Pennsylvania with fiscal issues. In fact there are many municipalities in various stages of fiscal distress.
We encourage state government to work on comprehensive solutions to fiscal distress in Harrisburg and other municipalities throughout the Commonwealth, realizing that authorization for special taxing authority by individual municipalities already exists in other areas of Pennsylvania and can be a logical solution to municipalities like Harrisburg.
Harrisburg is a city of 50,000 people, and one of 103 municipalities located in the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA ( population 560,000) in South Central Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA is Pennsylvania’s 4th largest workforce with an unemployment rate of 3.3% (May). The region is one of the fastest growing in Pennsylvania. The City of Harrisburg has also seen population growth and significant private sector and public sector investment in current and future investments totaling in excess of $700 million.
(updated 6/26/18 to reflect May unemployment numbers)