State FOP Lobbies Against Amendments To City Budget Legislation

The state Fraternal Order of Police just held a conference call to detail their opposition to the amended House Bill 1828, which would provide budget relief to the city.

"A vote in support of House Bill 1828 is a vote against police officers, firefighters and their families, " said Pennsylvania State Lodge President Les Neri.

House Bill 1828 will allow the city to temporarily raise the sales tax by 1 cent and delay some pension payments – moves that are worth $700 million over five years. If the legislation doesn’t pass next Tuesday, the city will start moving forward with a “doomsday” budget plan that would slash 3,000 jobs and cut city services to the bone.

But amendements added to the bill in the state Senate have outraged union leaders. The new version contains amendments that would set new standards for municipal pension programs around the state. It also would require the city to freeze the pension plan and create a lower-cost plan for all new city employees, which would have to be negotiated with municipal unions.

Neri said the FOP will hold a press conference to criticize the amendments at the state Capitol on Tuesday -- the day the state House of Representives is set to vote on the bill. He said an issue like pension reform shouldn't be lumped in with a budget bill for Philadelphia.

"An issue like pension reform that affects so many Pennsylvania families should be dealt with separately," he said, adding that the FOP would have no problem with the legislation if it was stripped of the amendments.