Friday, August 28, 2015

More on Nutter's trade-off

Last week, the Daily News argued that Mayor Nutter had made the right decision in not appealing the police arbitration award, because the gains made in the contract (long-term changes to pension and benefit plans) outweighed the short-term pain it imposed on the city (raises).

More on Nutter's trade-off

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Last week, the Daily News argued that Mayor Nutter had made the right decision in not appealing the police arbitration award, because the gains made in the contract (long-term changes to pension and benefit plans) outweighed the short-term pain it imposed on the city (raises).

Over the weekend, the Inquirer took a closer look at the downside, pointing out that in addition to the police, teachers and SEPTA workers have all gotten raises this year, and asking whether governments can afford those kind of payouts.

It also asked what the relevance of these three settled contracts is for the city's negotiations with other unions, and got an interesting answer from Nutter: The school district and SEPTA contracts, the mayor said, are not relevant, because those entities aren't funded by the city. The police contract is relevant, he believes.

We already knew, from that mayor's comments about the arbitration award and the decision not to appeal it, that he was satisfied with the police contract. The question this answer brings to mind is whether he'll be willing to make a similar trade of raises-for-benefit reform with the city's other unions. Because, depending on particulars such as employee furloughs, accepting that kind of short-term pain could necessitate either meaningfully more service cuts or meaningfully more tax increases for Philadelphia taxpayers.

Well, what do you think, Philadelphia taxpayer? Is this a trade you'd be willing to make?

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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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