That "really doesn't take into account the city's ability to pay," said city Finance Director Scott Kunka. The administration would rather make state takeover voluntary, and is talking with Mr. McAneny and local legislators to try to amend the legislation. (P-G, Rich Lord)
The steeper annual payment numbers are one concern, but I have to believe another part of the hesitancy is Pittsburgh not desiring to surrender its own control to an executive agency in Harrisburg. Ordinarily I don't care for turfy-parochialism, but this seems legitimate. If there's a statewide municipal pensions pool, IMVHO, it ought to be driven by a board of municipal representatives.
Why? Because Pennsylvania state government is SUB-ENCOURAGING AT THIS TIME:
A Team 4 investigation finds that the idea of a vending-machine system to sell wine in Pennsylvania grocery stores will benefit two of Gov. Ed Rendell's biggest campaign contributors. One of them is a close friend of the governor. (WTAE, Paul Van Osdol)
Are we going to be able to prove a quid-pro-quo deal was made and indict the Governor? Not on your life. Does this establish beyond any conceivable doubt that large campaign contributions influence public policy? It should. Come on already, everybody -- let's stop pretending.
BY THE WAY: Don't tease me for asking this; online databases frustrate me sometimes. I could have sworn I once read Rendell had significant ties to the electronics industry. I read it in a mainstream news article, long forgotten. If anyone can identity those electronics companies which have been generous to Rendell over the past 3-4 years, please let me know. Pet project.
More in the vein of NOT BEING ENCOURAGED:
Rendell has said he plans to run his veto pen across broad swaths of the GOP-backed spending plan, resulting in a “bridge” budget that would do little more than pay employees and vendors and keep government operating until a permanent accord is reached.
Democrats and Rendell hope that the elimination of funding for scores of programs, ranging from hospitals, school and the arts will put pressure on Republicans to negotiate. (Capitol Ideas, John L. Micek; h/t @JonDelano)
Tell me if you see the potential flaw in this scheme. Our Democratic governor is going to pass a Republican budget, then veto its spending on liberal priorities -- and this is going to put pressure on Republicans to negotiate, rather than simply enjoy a Nordquistian tiny government and make Rendell and his veto pen look like the villains.
State employees are starting to get very nervous -- not for their paychecks this time, but for the strength and survival of the programs to which they are extremely dedicated. More later.