Sunday, August 30, 2009

Harrisburg: You've Got To Slow Down, Man.

I'm not talking about your budget, obviously. I'm talking about the municipal pensions crisis. So it's a little backwards.

State budget: all you have to do is decide on a number. Pensions: it's considerably more complex. You're going to jerk it up entirely if it's done fast and not right.

"Absolutely," Nutter said when asked whether he would like the House, if approved by the Senate, to take up the bill and make no changes.

"I would certainly hope the House would not make any changes primarily because of timing issues," Nutter said. (Trib, Brad Bumstead)

I'm glad things are working out well for Philadelphia, and I trust things are working out well for Philadelphia in a way that does not actually hamper the effort in the rest of the state

However, this is all new to Pittsburgh -- and no doubt to some of the rest of the municipalities as well. How many have seen the real numbers?

(Yes, I know, I know. We've all made bad choices for too long. It's embarrassing. Pittsburgh should have fixed this in the 1990's. We all could have fixed this sometime this millennium. We in particular might have worked on this more over the past three years. So thank you for taking this on, state government leaders who never get enough credit, and thank you Philly for your involvement, but seriously -- you need to slow down and incorporate some feedback -- not all feedback, but SURELY SOME OF IT -- from the actual Pennsylvania cities that are going to be most significantly affected. Because it will affect plenty of them BADLY WHEN THE BILL COMES DUE, and quite by surprise, and you will have another gnarly outrage on your hands, with nothing to defend you except...)

Mayor Michael Nutter wants the legislation to be approved without House changes so that city can begin collecting an extra 1 percent sales tax to help fund its pension system. Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, a former Philadelphia mayor, is backing Nutter's effort. (Trib, Bumstead and Brandolph)

Ha ha ha, sorry no. Lay down the sack with the dollar bill on it.

No, Mayor Nutter, we are going to pass a good bill instead, a strong and sustainable pensions strategy -- now that we're all caught up on where you and key state leaders have been at.

From what I understand, H.B. 1828 passed the Senate and is holed up in the House "Rules Committee". Very good. How about a month or two? Time to craft some friendly amendments, that are up to speed, and save this initiative from being a total albatross for wide swaths of Pennsylvania. Let's get it done right, and get it done in 2009 -- but not at full ramming speed.


  1. My reaction is to lay this at the feet of the local Democratic party leaders. They decided they wanted to keep the accidental Mayor, despite his glaring flaws. I don't know what Ravenstahl does when he goes to Harrisburg (although I could guess) but the best that seems to result from his visits is nothing. More often than not after he leaves the senators and representatives give negative quotes to the papers. I mean, Tom Murphy had bad relations with the State legislature, but that was due to his history and temper. But when Jim Ferlo is voting directly against the interests of the City, you know the State legislature has finally become fed up with Ravenstahl’s antics. And of course Zober does not help anything or anybody.

  2. Ed - with all due sympathy for that, the mayor's political hamhandedness can't explain it all by itself. This is also being tightly produced. We need to wake up some other municipalities.

    In other news, there's a fairly obvious sunshine act violation going on down at the Courthouse on G-20 biz.

  3. Dowd left after about 25 minutes, bringing it back down to four (Pedutes, Slields, Harris, Kraus).

  4. Why would you assume that this hurts any other place in Pennsylvania?

    It helps some, it continues to help others, it doesn't matter to others, and it hurts Pittsburgh and ......

  5. Anon 10:40 - Well. We need to find out exactly what's in your double-ellipsis.

    I have to believe we can identify at least two other cities in PA that this will impact much, much more negatively than they currently believe or expect, especially if we start factoring in revised asset valuations and actuarial data and get the rest of the real numbers. I think that those simple revelations could raise a valid specter of great risk and nasty surprises that are somewhat widespread, if we do our research on the rest of the Commonwealth very carefully. Plus, we haven't advanced quite all our pieces on the board yet.