WHEN THE CITY and the Philadelphia School District participated in interest-rate swaps - contracts aimed at trimming city borrowing costs - it backfired and the city ended up dishing out millions to big banks to break the deal.
Now, City Council wants to see if the city can get some of that money back and whether legal action should be pursued.
Councilman Jim Kenney introduced a resolution yesterday calling for hearings to investigate the use of interest-rate swaps.
Local governments and schools were swayed by bankers in the early 2000s to purchase swaps that were dependent on the future of U.S. interest rates. In 2008, when the financial crisis hit, governments had to pay banks the difference once the market interest rates crashed.
"We lost tons and tons of money; they [the big banks] made money," Kenney said. "I think it's worth taking a look at all that and seeing if there's something we can't, down the road, recover from them in some form of equity."
In other news:
Council unanimously passed two bills sponsored by Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. The first is a bill that would allow businesses to claim a tax credit of up to $5,000 for each job created over the next two years.
The other bill creates an Economic Opportunity Review Committee to ensure that economic-opportunity plans are being enforced and to make recommendations to Council for whether noncompliant contractors should be barred.
Contact Jan Ransom at 215-854-5218 or ransomj@ phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @Jan_Ransom. Read her blog, "PhillyClout" at phillyclout.com.