City Councilman Bill Green, a frequent critic of Mayor Nutter's administration, took to the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer today to defend the mayor. Green took exception to a story noting that Sam Katz, the new chairman of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, was saying the city should look at selling off assets.
Green noted that Nutter last week named former mayoral candidate Tom Knox to head a commission examining city assets to see which if any should be sold off.
Green grabs a little credit for himself too, adding that he has met privately twice in the last year with Nutter to talk about setting up such a commission. You can read his letter after the jump.
Sam Katz, chairman of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, is trying to jump in front of a parade already being led by Mayor Nutter. The Inquirer should know better ("Pension shortfall big worry, Katz says," Wednesday). For more than a year, the mayor and I have met, at least twice in private, to discuss a commission to review city assets and propose a plan to dispose of non-core assets. During budget hearings for two years, and in a colloquy between city Finance Director Rob Dubow and me on Oct. 26, we discussed the specific benefits of strategic asset sales to shore up the pension fund.
As discussed during that hearing, each billion dollars added to the fund results in a virtually perpetual 10 percent return to the city. That is, we will be required to contribute $100 million less to the fund each year than outlined in the city's five-year plan. This return is far greater than our assumed rate of return for the pension fund's investments, and far better than if we spend it anywhere else in government. In fact, if we still contribute $50 million or $75 million of the savings to the fund each year by law, the change in actuarial assumptions generates even greater savings over a 10-year period, putting us back on track to pension-fund solvency and providing additional cash flow for tax cuts and essential services in the city's operating budget.
Reporting this as Katz's idea without mentioning that the mayor recently had a major press conference to appoint a commission headed by Tom Knox to strategically look at the city's assets is disappointing indeed, and suggests that the paper isn't paying attention to the serious work already under way in City Hall.
Councilman Bill Green