US Cities in Financial Crisis: Harrisburg,PA File for Bankrupcy Phoenix Taxes Groceries

Harrisburg,PA  has a debt problems It has a $68. million debt service this year much of it due to guarantee a $288 million portion Harrisburg Incinerator is shares with Dauphin County. Members of the city council reduced the spending to a budget of $55 million but said Mayor Linda Thompson raised to Budget to $66 million. Dauphin County will not pay for Harrisburg’s share. The budget is due February 15th.

Meanwhile, Phoenix is raising a tax on food. Mayor Phil Gordon and the city council in a 6-3 vote to raise 2% tax on milk, meat and vegetables. The money raise will close to $12million. In 2011 it will raise $50 million.  Welfare recipient with food stamps will be exempt. Phoenix has a $248 million deficit.

Arizona retailers are opposed to the tax. One of the opponents councilman Sal DiCicco said”We need to wait until everyone has had an opportunity to weigh in before we vote on this food tax. That is the Phoenix way of doing things,” Gates said during the four-hour meeting. “I’m concerned this will enflame some people who will say, ‘I didn’t have the opportunity to be heard.’ ”

But Pete Gorraiz Head of the Phoenix Firefighter association who supported the tax said may keep 400 firefighters and give a $6.9 million to the fire department budget.”There are services, and there are critical services,” Gorraiz said. “In our business, if you start taking away our ability to meet response times, it’s literally the difference between life and death.”

The Patriot-News

Arizona Republic

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