Friday, February 12, 2016

Can the City possibly afford another World Series Parade?

City Paper's sports columnist E. James Beale informed me last night that, with three outs to go before the Phils clinched the NL East, Mayor Nutter showed up at the game.

Can the City possibly afford another World Series Parade?


City Paper's sports columnist E. James Beale informed me last night that, with three outs to go before the Phils clinched the NL East, Mayor Nutter showed up at the game.

On one hand, you'd think the mayor would be thrilled with another Phils World Series run (knock on wood). Remember how good it felt to be a Philadelphian last fall, when it seemed like people were taking to the streets to celebrate every other night? The economy was already in crash mode, but it was still before things like Plan C and the Harrisburg Fortnight. The city was gleaming with potential, or seemed to be. Another World Series (knock on wood) could restore some of that luster, and give the mayor a much-needed boost in public morale.

On the other hand, we have stories like this one in the Inquirer today, about the city's refusal (and inability) to finance the ethnic parades this year. Last year's Phillies Parade cost about $340,000, mostly in police overtime, according to Clout, though about $300,000 of that was raised from private contributions [SEE CORRECTION]. I'd have to think that contributions would be down if there were another parade (knock on wood), simply because the excitement wouldn't be quite the same. But I guess it's also possible donors would be more aware of the city's dire financial situation.

In any case, the Inky asked Nutter spokeswoman Maura Kennedy if the city would foot the bill, should the Phils win again. She answered: "It's too early to speculate." Not for me! I'm going to speculate that if the Phils win again (knock on wood), the administration is going to have to do some aggressive fundraising. You may be finished in Harrisburg, Mr. Mayor, but your begging days may not be over.

CORRECTION: Apparently the $340,000 was an early number. The final cost to taxpayers of last year's Phillies parade was just over $1 million, according to a later Inquirer story. But $1.5 million in revenue was brought in to the city by the World Series, the mayor's office told reporter Jeff Shields, in amusement taxes (the tax on ticket sales) and wage taxes for Phillies players during home games. The taxes brought in $1.25 million and $250,000, respectively. This mitigates the concern somewhat, though obviously the city would rather have the revenue the mayor's office cited (none of which was associated with the actual parade) and not the cost.

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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