PICA Delays Plan C Vote

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority just delayed a vote on the city's Plan C budget for another week, expressing hope that state lawmakers would by then provide the city with budget relief.

Plan C is the budget the city will have to enact if state lawmakers don't grant Philadelphia permission to temporarily hike the sales tax and delay some pension payments -- moves worth $700 million over five years. The city would deal with losing the revenue by slashing 3,000 jobs, closing libraries and recreation centers and eliminating funding for the local courts. Without state action, those cuts would take effect Oct. 2.

The state House of Representatives is set to vote today on House Bill 1828, which would provide Philadelphia with the requested relief. From there the legislation -- which has been bogged down by the addition of pension reform amendments -- must go back to the state Senate for approval.

The state-established budget oversight agency was set to vote on Plan C today. But instead, they approved a different budget plan -- Plan B -- which is similar to the original budget and assumes the city will get the state aid. Still, if the state has not acted by Sept. 18, then the city must resubmit Plan C with revisons by Sept. 25.

The revisions would likely have to be on courts funding. PICA Chairman Jim Eisenhower stressed that he thought eliminating funding for the First Judicial District, District Attorney and Defenders Association was "untenable."