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Pa. Close To State Takeover Of Financially Troubled Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - The state House later today is expected to send Governor Tom Corbett a bill that would pave the way for a state takeover of Pennsylvania's fiscally insolvent capital city.

The bill passed by the Senate Tuesday would allow the governor to appoint a receiver to take over most of the decision-making in the city of Harrisburg.

Democrat John Blake of Lackawanna County says the measure undermines the principle of local sovereignty. "I think the bill takes powers from democratically-elected officials and gives it to appointees."

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Jeffrey Piccola, who represents Harrisburg and its eastern suburbs in the Senate, says he doesn't exactly disagree with Blake.

"Certainly I understand and respect the reservations that he has concerning this legislation. In fact I share those reservations."

But Piccola says time is of the essence to avoid the city of Harrisburg entering into bankruptcy.

Harrisburg City Council last week petitioned for bankruptcy, but Piccola has said he believes a receiver appointed by the governor could withdraw that petition.

Reported by Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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