Archive: June, 2009
Today, contracts for more than 20,000 unionized city workers expire. "It's Our Money" took a look at the current salaries and benefits, as well as the proposals offered by the city during negotiations. You can read the whole thing by clicking on the link below.
The Philadelphia Research Institute, a project of the Pew Charitable Trust, has released a new report on benefits for municipal employees. The main point: costs are skyrocketing as the city's ability to pay is falling dramatically.
Link: Playing budget games with gambling [Daily News]
POKER, BLACKJACK, craps, roulette and baccarat are among the table games included in a new bill that the Pennsylvania Legislature may consider soon to expand gambling across the state.
The list of games doesn't include the kind of three-card monte that lawmakers are now playing as they talk about table games as a viable solution to the $3 billion state budget crisis.
Mayor Nutter will give back his 5.13 percent increase, as will 19 cabinet members and commissioners who are scheduled for the increase, a spokesman said yesterday.
Nutter slashed his $186,044 salary 10 percent in November in announcing budget cuts to deal with the worsening financial crisis. The COLA amount is $9,544, for a total giveback of about $28,000. Nutter is also taking a 2 percent cut in the form of a one-week furlough this year - five unpaid vacation days that he'll most likely work through.
Today's editorial in the Daily News mentions a study of casino-related campaign contributions by Pennslyvania Common Cause. You can read the entire thing bt clicking here.
"There are over 3,100 pension funds in Pennsylvania and about 60 percent of them have 10 people or less. That has to change. What we should be talking about is: Should there be a statewide municipal pension fund? And are we willing to give up some of our control?" he said.
When combined, all of the municipal pension funds account for $4.7 billion of unfunded pension liability, said Kevin Evanto, Mr. Onorato's spokesman. He added that the state Legislature would have to create a mechanism to allow for the merger of the municipal pension systems.
Mayors of five Pennsylvania cities — Lancaster, York, Reading, Easton and Bethlehem — announced Tuesday they've formed a coalition to meet the challenge of paying for municipal government.
The cities had been the subject of a study earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Economy League. The report said what many in Lancaster have known for some time: The cost of firefighters, police and public works is going up, but cities' ability to raise revenue isn't.
Link: We want the bad news, too [Daily News]
YESTERDAY, Mayor Nutter delivered his proposed budget to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), a state agency charged with overseeing city finances.
There's nothing unusual in this: By law, the mayor is required to submit his budget and five-year plan to PICA, and PICA must approve it.