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Just when it seemed that the city would be forced to lay off 3,000 employees and cut many essential services, the state legislature passed House Bill 1828 yesterday to prevent Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter from implementing his Plan C, or "doomsday," proposal.

The city, facing a $700-million budget shortfall, would have had to put Plan C in place if HB 1828, a measure to increase the local sales tax and defer city pension contributions, had not passed by today.

The plan would have abolished the city's court system, closed all 53 Free Library branches, reduced trash collection to every other week and cut 3,000 government jobs, including almost 1,000 members of the police force and 200 of the fire department.

The fate of HB 1828 had been so uncertain that Nutter released a video yesterday morning addressing city employees, many of whom would have gotten layoff notices.

"Each notice [goes to] a family member, a friend, a colleague or a neighbor," Nutter said before the bill was passed. "I will fight until the very last second to avoid taking this action."

The vote almost did take until the last second, coming just a day before the deadline.

Nutter played a significant role in lobbying state lawmakers to approve HB 1828.

He said in a speech to the Penn Democrats on Wednesday that he had been to Harrisburg about 20 times in the past three months and met with at least 200 of the state's 253 legislators.

The legislature's other big task yesterday was to compromise on a balanced state budget.

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell rejected a proposal by lawmakers that would have ended the months-long stalemate, saying it didn't include ways to raise enough revenue.

Pennsylvania is currently the only state in the nation without a budget, the deadline for which was 79 days ago.

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