The word "hostage" is being thrown around a lot to describe the city's budget, caught in the middle of a state spending feud between Gov. Rendell and Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, a Delaware County Republican. Pileggi has the power to act on legislation allowing the city to increase its sales tax by a penny on the dollar and change the way the city replenishes its pension fund. Those two measures, worth $700 million in the next five years, would help the city avoid 3,000 layoffs, including hundreds of cops and firefighters. But Pileggi won't budge until he and Rendell can settle the state budget, now 38 days overdue. Rendell wants more revenue. Pileggi wants massive cuts. And Philadelphia waits, with an Aug. 15 deadline to start implementing a doomsday budget.
Enter Sean Dorn, a self-described "obsessively prolific blogger" who posts on YoungPhillyPolitics.com and the former PhillyBlog.com. Dorn has launched a petition drive, calling on the Delaware River Port Authority and Rendell to stop all payments for a soccer stadium being built in Pileggi's district for the fledgling Philadelphia Union until the city's budget issues advance in the Senate, apart from the state budget negotiations. Dorn is also posting on the issue at YPP.
There seems to be no signs of anyone backing down anywhere in this mess. At some point, will former President Bill Clinton jet into Harrisburg to negotiate for the release of the city's budget? Stay tuned.