Mayor Nutter has made much of his budget cuts in recent weeks, telling state lawmakers that Philadelphia has already slashed spending and thus needs to increase the sales tax and restructure pension funding to get through the budget crisis.
And all that is true, as far as it goes.
But what Nutter has not done is lay off workers at anything close to the pace of his counterparts in New York, Phoenix, Chicago, and other cities where hundreds of municipal employees have been sent packing.
Indeed, this year Philadelphia has laid off only five employees.
That's right: Five.
Now, the city has eliminated 250 positions, saving $12.5 million on the books. But 197 of those spots were already vacant, 40 more workers were moved into other positions in city government, and eight employees chose to retire rather than be laid off. Still, the total is clearly tiny relative to the mass layoffs in many other big cities.
It could be a short-term respite.
If Nutter does not get state approval for key elements of his budget, or if he fails to win concessions in the next round of union contracts, he may have no choice but to get rid of hundreds or even thousands of employees.
The layoffs in either case would certainly top five.
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