Dominic Pileggi, the state senator from Delaware County who heads the GOP caucus, complained late yesterday to KYW Newsradio in Harrisburg that the city's delegation to the General Assembly is proceeding in the "exact wrong way" on issues that Mayor Nutter and City Council need to balance the city's budget. Pileggi said Philadelphia legislators have not made city budget issues a priority and should not expect to bring up the subject at the last minute.
The five-year spending plan passed by Council in May needs legislative approval for a 1-cent sales tax increase for five years and changes in how the city pays into its pension fund. Those two measures would give the city $250 million in new money and savings for the fiscal year that started on July 1.
The city last week announced that it was suspending payments to most vendors until the state budget, now 24 days overdue, is passed. Legislation to approve the city's budget issues has been introduced in the state House, where it is waiting for an Appropriations Committee vote, but not in the Senate.
UPDATE, 12:05 pm: Nutter just noted that he has had "numerous direct personal conversations" with Pileggi about the city's budget needs, including a meeting with other senators in the GOP leader's office during one of the mayor's six trips to Harrisburg in the last two months. But has he asked senators from the city to submit legislation on those issues, as Pileggi clearly wants?
"I've had that kind of conversation with Sen. Shirley Kitchen. She’s the leader of the Philadelphia delegation," Nutter said. "It is my belief that they are actively working on it. I cannot tell the members of even our own delegation when and how they should their jobs. That’s a judgment they have to make. I respect their judgment and we have to rely on it."