Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Podcast: Meet the budget referee

After months of gamesmanship, City Council finally passed a budget last Thursday. But the game isn't over yet. The referee still gets to make a call.

Podcast: Meet the budget referee

After months of gamesmanship, City Council finally passed a budget last Thursday. But the game isn't over yet. The referee still gets to make a call.

The Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) is charged with deciding whether the city has enough money to pay for the spending proposed in its five-year plan. It's not supposed to weigh in on actual budget choices – which is why it's kind of like a referee. It calls fair or foul, but otherwise stays out of the game.

Though PICA has never rejected a city budget, two PICA board members, including new chair Sam Katz, suggested at a meeting last week that they might vote against the budget because it funds DROP. Not because the city can't pay for DROP, but because it's part of a losing game plan.

It doesn't seem likely PICA would actually scuttle the budget over DROP. But these comments raise the question of what kind of referee PICA is going to be.

On this week's It's Our Money podcast, Doron Taussig and Ashley Nguyen explore this issue in sportscast form (and kind of torture the sports metaphor to death – thanks to Brett Mandel for the idea).

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About this blog
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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