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Harrisburg budget expected to triple local services tax

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- People working inside the City of Harrisburg will likely see some of their taxes tripled under the mayor's new plan to generate revenue.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse, speaking Monday a day before he presents his 2016-17 budget, confirmed what he originally stated during his State of the City Address in September: he plans on raising the local services tax for city employees from $1 to $3 every week over the course of a year. The 300 percent rise means a total $156 in taxes per employee, generating around $3 million in revenue, the mayor said.

"I think it's going to be difficult because it is another sacrifice," Papenfuse admitted. "But we have to pull together to make this recovery work. The flipside is we're going to be able to provide better services than we have in years."

Papenfuse plans to present his entire budget to city council on Tuesday.

On Monday, he announced an agreement with the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau for $620,000 over the next four years, ending a tourism dispute which stems from hotel tax money.

HHRVB will give the city of Harrisburg $95,000 annually, and will become the title sponsor for the city's signature events: New Year's Eve, Fourth of July, Kipona, and the Holiday Parade.

Papenfuse also pledged to use money from the tourism bureau to create two new positions: a marketing manager and web content producer. Both will be formally requested during his budget proposal Tuesday.