From Steve Mocarksy's article that appeared in the Times Leader on June 25, 2009.
"Something must be done to get the city out of this bind, but I want to make it clear that any solution must be within the confines of the state law and the state Constitution- Todd Eachus on Hazleton's Pension Fund Issue
Here is a link to Senate Bill 961 of 2007 that was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate as a solution for Hazleton's pension issue.
Here is a link to the Senate Appropriations Committee vote which was unanimous. Note that Senators Musto and Mellow voted YES.
Here is a link to the Senate Finance Committee vote which was unanimous.
Here is a link to the Senate vote on Senate Bill 961. The vote 49-0.
The bill was referred to the House Finance Committee on June 26, 2007. The bill was not considered by the House Finance Committee until 8-18-2008. As you can see it was never reported out of the House Finance Committee.
According to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Government Relations Committee Senate Bill 961 would allow the City of Hazelton to increase its earned income taxation rate up to an additional five-tenths percent beyond the maximum rate provided by law, provided that the proceeds are used solely to reduce any taxes assessed and collected under the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act from and after Jan. 1, 2003.
State Representative John Yudichak on the issue in the Times Leader by Bill O'Boyle:
State Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, said he remembers Barletta coming to Harrisburg in 2007 to try to work out a legislative solution to the issue.
“I thought we had one,” Yudichak said. “It passed the Senate 49-0. I offered a discharge resolution in the House to get it out of committee and I was told that a solution was being worked on with Mayor Barletta and Rep. Eachus to resolve the issue. Now here we are two years later and the problem continues to threaten the health and welfare of the residents of Hazleton City.”
Todd Eachus wants people to believe Senate Bill 961 was unconstitutional. Forty nine Senators voted Yes. It was considered by the House Finance Committee where it died. Representative Yudichak authored a discharge resolution to get it out of committee but a hissy fit was had by Mr. Eachus. Don't you think those elected officials consulted with legislative attorneys before voting on this bill?
Mr. Eachus, why did it take over a year for a committee to consider a bill for your legislative district? Why didn't the bill move out of the House Finance committee? Why did it take so long to hear from you on this issue? You were elected to represent us.
There is a saying-"Just because you can doesn't mean you should". Just because you can hold Lou Barletta hostage doesn't mean that you should hold all of the residents and businesses of Hazleton hostage. Cut the crap, swallow some pride, reintroduce SB 961 and get it passed.