Judge OKs $20M loan to keep Luzerne County government open

A judge has signed off on a $20 million loan to keep a northeastern Pennsylvania county afloat while officials wait for a state budget impasse to end.

Luzerne County officials need the loan to offset $22 million in state reimbursements the county hasn’t received while lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf haggle over a budget that was supposed to be passed five months ago.

County officials told Common Pleas Judge Thomas Burke Jr. on Monday that the $3.8 million left in the general fund isn’t enough to pay the county’s 1,800 employees through year’s end.

The judge on Monday was required by law to sign off on the loan plan approved by the county commissioners last week.

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The state will repay the lender directly once a budget is passed.

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