Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Editorial: Heavy wait?

Link: Heavy wait [Daily News]

Editorial: Heavy wait?

Link: Heavy wait [Daily News]

IN JULY, the city's fiscal watchdog, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), set a deadline of Aug. 15 for action on state legislation to help balance Philadelphia's municipal budget. Now, some state lawmakers want that deadline extended to Sept. 15.

Sen. Dominic Pileggi, who is pushing for the change, says the state Senate needs more time to consider allowing the city to raise the local sales tax and delay contributions to the city pension fund. Without those changes, the city will lay off 3,000 employees, drastically cut services, and close numerous city facilities.

Because PICA is the state authority on the city's budget, this request puts PICA in a tough spot: If it refuses, and Harrisburg doesn't act -by Saturday - the city reverts to a budget sure to cause much pain. But granting the extension takes the pressure off lawmakers to act, and action is critical: Every day that passes without budget relief means less revenue for the city. We've already lost between $20 million and $30 million because of the delay in enacting the sales tax. We suggest a third way: Set a good example for the rest of Harrisburg and hammer out a quick compromise of a two-week extension.

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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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