Harrisburg, Pennsylvania mayor vetoes budget

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania Mon Jan 9, 2012 6:58pm EST

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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - The mayor of Pennsylvania's debt-laden capital of Harrisburg on Monday vetoed the budget passed by the city council in December, calling its provisions "politically motivated."

The $54 million budget passed by the city council eliminated 10 vacant positions plus the jobs of the mayor's communications director and ombudsman. It also raised the council's line item while decreasing the mayor's allotted tax dollars.

The 2012 budget the city council adopted is $1.9 million less than what Mayor Linda Thompson proposed in November and contains the same tax increases. At the time Thompson called the council's actions "spiteful."

With Thompson's veto, the city could operate under the terms of its 2011 budget until both parties agree on a new spending plan decided by state courts and the appointed receiver. The council could override the veto, however, given its original 4-1 vote to pass the budget.

Harrisburg is in a $317 million hole due largely to the expensive repairs and upgrading of its trash incinerator. The city council filed for bankruptcy protection, but the case was dismissed by a federal judge, paving the way for a state takeover of city finances.

Regarding the council's budget adopted 10 days ago, Thompson said, "These are irresponsible, reckless, unacceptable cuts."

(Reporting By Mark Shade; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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