Saturday, May 30, 2015

Editorial: Special treatment?

Link: Special treatment? [Daily News]

Editorial: Special treatment?

Link: Special treatment? [Daily News]

IF YOU listen to Republicans in Harrisburg, Philadelphia's request for legislation to help balance the city budget is a demand for special treatment. However, a quick look at recent history shows that linking Philadelphia's request to the passage of the state budget is actually especially bad treatment.

Back in 2003, Pittsburgh was in the middle of a serious financial crisis. Local officials teamed up with members of the state Legislature and sought permission to raise a number of taxes. Unlike Philadelphia, Pittsburgh's proposals were approved quickly and had no connection to the state budget.

Why the difference? The Legislature has certainly grown more conservative over the past few years, and many in Harrisburg have an irrational hatred of Philadelphia. Those two factors certainly play a big role.

However, we suspect the real reason is politics. Republicans in the state Senate want to use Philadelphia's fiscal problems as leverage over Gov. Rendell. The worse the situation gets the more pressure there will be to come to a budget deal. Either way, lawmakers in Harrisburg are playing chicken with the lives of Philadelphians. And that's unacceptable.

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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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