PICA approves 5-year plan; should it be given different powers?

As Catherine Lucey reports, PICA approved the city's five-year plan today, though it noted concerns about the city's pension system and the fact that the city assumes $60 million in savings on labor costs. Here's PICA's staff report on the city plan.

In a conversation with reporters afterward, PICA chair Sam Katz said that though there are risks in the plan, "the math works" and none of the risks rise to a level that necessitates voting against the plan

He also raised a point we found interesting, about the very limited arsenal PICA can choose from to get the city to correct problems. It can use its "nuclear power" and nix the city's plan, which results in the withholding of state funds for services that go largely to poor people -- "we get to punish the political class by punishing the poorest people in the city," Katz said. Or ... it can use its bully pulpit, and try to get the city to make a correction by calling it out in the press.

That's not quite all or nothing, but it's close.

Katz said he's interested in looking into changing the nature of PICA's power so it would have some options in-between "talking" and "going nuclear." But he said it would be inappropriate to speculate at this stage as to what a good in-between power would be.

We're happy to hear your ideas in comments: Should PICA be given additional "sticks"? And what shoud they be?

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