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Missing My Kids

I always miss my kids of course; being divorced is tough on the parents too.  But I especially feel it when I hear about cool things going on in my city that I know my kids would love.  Well, earlier this week the Iron-Kid Challenge started and that really got me thinking about my kids.

I guess it has a similar philosophy to the Harrisburg Wellness Challenge I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, being part of this project our Mayor established.   It’s an after-school program that is meant to try and get kids excited about healthy diets and taking regular exercise. This particular part of the program received financing from the Highmark Caring Foundation.  Rosemary Browne from the foundation said “for more than ten years we have worked to improve the health, well-being and quality of life in the communities that we serve.  And we have also been focusing especially on efforts around children’s health.” There are going to be prizes given out at the end of the school year too.

My kids really need to get into this.  They need to see that it can be fun and invigorating to eat well and find a sport they love. As well, if they get into sports early on in life then maintaining it will be easier for them as they get older.  At least that’s what Dani said was how she got hooked on swimming.

It’s a real shame my kids just aren’t living here; I think they would really benefit from and enjoy this a lot.

Harrisburg Fiscal Recovery Plan Review

This week at the Harrisburg City Council, Mayor Linda D. Thompson will be going over her fiscal recovery plan which she introduced earlier this month.  It is a bit like Act 47 that has already been rejected but differs in the sense that it requires additional financial state concessions as well as from Dauphin County and the bond issuer that gave substantial financial backing to the city’s $310m incinerator debt.


Without backing from at least one of these organizations (to cover the $26m leftover debt from the mayor’s plan), Thompson intends to adopt a 2.2 to 2.5 percent commuter tax which would impact all those who commute to the city irrespective of what county they live in.  The EIT would increase for city residents as well – possibly from 1 to 2.5 percent.


Next week Mayor Thompson also intends to hold a public hearing about this plan in the Harrisburg High School auditorium.

Harrisburg Takeover?

If Harrisburg doesn’t get its act together and implement the state Act 47 coordinator proposal fast, there could soon be a takeover of the city.  According to Gov. Tom Corbett who is in favor of the Senate Bill 1151, issued by Jeffrey Piccola, it would facilitate the city’s financial recovery plan while stampeding “any efforts by the city to declare bankruptcy.”  Should city leaders fail to act on this Bill, Piccola will look toward a “three-person management board” to put it into effect.

No More Bankruptcy Options

It seems like the longer it is left, the less chance Harrisburg will have to file for bankruptcy.  The Act 47 plan is remiss of any “debt forgiveness” too.  Corbett – somewhat sensibly IMHO – is saying that he will indeed sign it should it get through the legislative process.  According to councilman Brad Koplinski, Corbett’s support is great, “and really should put all of us on alert as to how quickly this is moving on, and I hate to say it, but the fix might be in for Harrisburg.”

Act 47 Disadvantages

But of course there are always two sides to every coin.  While Corbett may be an Act 47 supporter, he might not realize that it would lead to an increase in taxes and unemployment, alongside a selling or leasing of the “city’s  parking garages and incinerator…to ensure banks get their money back.”  So it seems like the main beneficiary here would be Wall Street, according to Koplinski.

Piccola’s argument however is that Bill 1151 seeks to “protect municipalities and the state itself.”  Declaring bankruptcy is only going to end up “hurting credit ratings elsewhere,” rendering it much harder for townships to borrow money. The city’s mayor, Linda Thompson pointed out however that the bill fails to “respect the publicly elected officials in this city.”  She just doesn’t feel that it is the “appropriate process at this time.”

Well, we might know a little bit more in a few days’ time since it could get to the Senate floor “for a vote Friday,” moving on to the House by next week.  But then state lawmakers are going to be on recess so the timing might end up being not so great and once out of sight, may become out of mind.