Tuesday, August 28, 2007

DeSantis from Mars, Ravenstahl from Venus

Another lovely report from WTAE, this time on the mayor's race and city finances.

From the challenger:

"Make no mistake, our city is in crisis," DeSantis said. "All of the empty rhetoric and public relations in the world cannot fix the serious budget deficit that's on the horizon. The stranglehold of pension liabilities and the mountain of debt are crushing."

"We have to prevent a complete financial collapse," DeSantis said. "We are facing a very dire, serious financial situation. We are facing the threat of bankruptcy in a period perhaps as soon as two, at the most three years."

From the incumbent:

"I will submit my second structurally-balanced budget," Ravenstahl said. "We have a fund balance, will have a fund balance of over $80 million at the end of this year. That's not a mistake. That's my strong fiscal management by being prudent with the taxpayer dollars, and we'll continue to do that."

"We have some challenges in the out years but to suggest or create a fear within the city of Pittsburgh to its taxpayers that somehow we're going to be bankrupt in two years is just fundamentally false," Ravenstahl said.

Our dream for Pittsburgh is that every television news station will hasten to unleash stylized and digitized charts and graphs; competing to best illustrate the consensus from among the brightest and most respected financial minds of our region, piercing the very heart of who is on track, and who is blowing smoke.

Depressingly, something like this will once again be presented as one of the four "Top Stories" of the day (although this episode was newsworthy in that it succeeded in setting a new Galactic Record for Irony).

A final note -- if DeSantis can be criticized for taking too long to unveil his financial plan, we should remember that Ravenstahl has disparaged the very idea of the need for any financial plan that goes beyond what the oversight boards already require by fiat.

1 comment:

  1. Unless we can develop new sources of revenue (commuter tax, non-profit contributions, state aid, gambling revenue, etc.), I'm afraid Desantis is correct. BTW, Luke is blowing smoke. The surplus is not a result of "strong fiscal management", it's a result of the bond deal in 2006. They just pushed debt into the future in exchange for a surplus now.