Archive: April, 2010
It is bad enough that a handful of elected city officials have abused the pension perk known as DROP. But now there is more compelling evidence of an even bigger drain the plan is having on Philadelphia’s already wobbly pension system.
A lengthy story in the City Paper last week detailed a number of red flags regarding DROP, short for Deferred Retirement Option Plan.
The plan has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and provided little to nothing in return. The firm that helped the city establish DROP has run into legal trouble in other cities. Before trying to raise taxes, Mayor Nutter and City Council should end DROP for all employees.
City Council should be focused on the looming budget crisis and trying to prevent tax hikes that will stunt the city economy in the long run. But instead, Council is quietly trying to push through a slew of ethics and campaign-finance bills that threaten to do more harm than good.
A package of bills sponsored by Majority Leader Marian B. Tasco and cosigned by 14 of her 16 colleagues is up for a hearing on Wednesday. The proposals are being promoted as a practical response to recommendations from a mayoral task force.
In some small ways, that’s true. The proposal to register lobbyists is certainly a worthy one.
Angry New Jersey voters sent a strong message Tuesday when they rejected almost 60 percent of local school budgets.
That’s the largest repudiation of school budgets in decades. Traditionally, voters approve 70 percent of the budgets without much thought.
But New Jersey residents are fed up with paying the highest property taxes in the country, and not getting much more in return for the steady annual increases.
One of New Jersey’s periodic waves of corruption revelations started in the late ’60s, after an assistant attorney general famously declared that some members of the Legislature were “entirely too comfortable with organized crime.” The era saw scores of public officials convicted of corruption, often involving the mob.
It also produced some of the most sweeping reforms in state history, bringing about the state Division of Criminal Justice, the Election Law Enforcement Commission, and the State Commission of Investigation, an independent body charged with probing organized crime and public corruption.
All three agencies continue to keep New Jersey cleaner (believe it or not) than it might otherwise be. So it’s strange that the state’s former top federal prosecutor — and current governor — is threatening to gut one of them.