Is a Deal Brewing on the City Budget Relief Bill?

Is a compromise coming together on House Bill 1828 in time to save Philadelphia’s skin?

It’s too soon to say for sure, but Chris Brennan is hearing that the state House of Representatives has reached a tentative agreement on a revised version of HB1828, which provides budget relief to Philly and statewide pension reform. The state House has been trying to revise pension amendments added to the bill by the state Senate.

Of course, the state Senate would have to also okay the deal. Apparently, the details have been provided to members of the state Senate, but so far there has been no word on whether the body would sign off on the compromise.

A draft of the amended legislation floating around the Capitol seems to drop many Senate changes considered onerous by unions and calls instead for dual studies on the pension issue.

One study would focus on Philadelphia, with a "special commission" made up of the city's Retirement Board, the mayor, and the chairmen of PICA and PERC. The other study would look at some municipal pension plans in distress with a two-year deadline and follow up reports every two years after that.*

The draft deletes mandatory remedies for some pension plans in distress and drops a demand for new plans to be created for new municipal employees.

A little while ago, Mayor Nutter said he had heard talk of an amended bill that may be ready for a House vote but said it was hard to gauge when that may happen.

"I'm very concerned as we stand here at this moment about what's going on and what's not going on," said Nutter.

*UPDATE: (2:53 pm) -- We're now hearing that the two studies would no longer be part of the amended bill. But the other changes still remain. Of course, this will likely change several more times throughout the day...