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It lets Mr. Corbett order a financially troubled city to obey financial plans drawn up by his appointees, including a receiver who would have the power to sell city assets, approve contracts and file for federal bankruptcy protection, but not raise taxes.

The Republican signed the legislation less than a day after the House voted, without debate and by a large margin, to approve the plan to deal with Harrisburg’s staggering debt, brought on by $300 million in debt largely tied to the city’s trash incinerator.

The debt dwarfs Harrisburg’s $55 million annual operating budget, while the incinerator does not generate enough of a profit to pay off the debt.