City budget, pension and DROP on the line in Harrisburg

A routine meeting of the State Senate Finance Committee at 5 p.m. today is packed with import for Philadelphia.

A senate committee vote is expected on the city's sales tax and pension payment deferral requests, which are the only things standing between Philadelphia and what Nutter has called the "doomsday plan c" budget.

The committee, though, will also take a look at a couple of very intriguing amendments to the legislation, including a possible end to the highly controversial DROP program for elected officials (which State Sen. Larry Farnese has called for) and fundamental reform of the state municipal pension system, including, possibly, Philadelphia's.

At this point it's too soon to say which amendments will pass and which won't. And of course, this is just a committee vote. The full Senate also must vote, and if the legislation is amended, the House will have to weigh in again as well. Still, today is important. We should have a far clearer idea of what's coming after the hearing this afternoon.

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