Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

There's more than one way to frustrate taxpayers

We were just saying on Friday how, even though there are important differences between the recent cases of city employees being prosecuted for corruption and the revelation that outgoing Managing Director Camille Barnett is eligible for a pension disproportionate to her service (the most important difference being that the pension is legal), examples like this cause a similar frustration.

There's more than one way to frustrate taxpayers

We were just saying on Friday how, even though there are important differences between the recent cases of city employees being prosecuted for corruption and the revelation that outgoing Managing Director Camille Barnett is eligible for a pension disproportionate to her service (the most important difference being that the pension is legal), examples like this cause a similar frustration.

Today, the DN spells this out:

These may seem like disparate examples, but they all combine in undercutting the city's position that everyone has to sacrifice in order to get through tough times. They do even less to boster the city's position that there is nothing to cut in the budget, and the only solution is raising revenues by new or higher taxes.

The difference between a culture of take-what-you-can-get and the culture of corruption is slight.

Certainly the difference is slight in terms of the way each makes you feel as a taxpayer. We suppose we'd rather have our money wasted than stolen, but we don't really enjoy contemplating either option.

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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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