Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Time for Solutions, or a Time for Recriminations?

So how is it we're going to avoid a state takeover -- which would cruelly inflict upon us one of the very best performing of the many hundred pension fund investment groups in Pennsylvania, instead of presently, one of the very worst -- without revisiting a parking partnership with a private company, which we're told today will "destroy our city" even if we renegotiate rates to match those usually only about 15% lower already in the Council-Controller plan, which contained little to entice the Parking Authority?

OR, MORE LIKELY: Make no mistake -- we are now 98% likely to be taken over. There's simply no time left to implement anything even if the impasses are magically dissolved. But 80% of what you are now hearing, and will hear in coming weeks, is simply political theater to determine who receives majority blame from politically crucial public sector unions.

So who do you blame? I blame the residents; specifically, the twos upon twos who attended City Council's neighborhood public hearings, and offered nuanced advice on how to manage Pittsburgh's long-term financial problems. Sometimes they even filled out very neutral City Council surveys, in person or over Twitter, so perhaps they chimed in frequently as well. If only a slim fraction of as many residents had showed up to offer input on the plan to close Schenley High School in order to deal with the School District's own considerable financial problems, perhaps their comments would have been held in equally lionized esteem.

MORE: Tribune-Review, KDKA (screwy popup), Post-Gazette

*-UPDATE: This has been making the rounds -- what the MMO's would look like under infusions of $330 million and $228 million plus parking tax proceeds (so, under various varieties of a restructured P3).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our Pensions Collections Schedule Has Arrived...

Here is the report.

First issue: the city actuaries' numbers were off by only $1.9 million, or a mere 0.2%. Congratulations, you guys, you win both showcases.

Second issue: The cheat sheet is found on page 19. "Scenario 3" is the mandated State Takeover, which appears likely to occur in 58 days unless we somehow conjure $220 million or more during the interim. Under the terms of this takeover, the city's annual payment would shoot up from the present $47 million to between $86 and $92 million in the years 2013 through 2016 -- and then to between $127 million and $160 million in the years 2017 through 2032. The differences from our present $47 million of course would get taken out of our annual budget somehow.

2013 is not exactly science fiction, nor is 2017; there will be no hoverbikes for example. Expect this post to grow a little, and expect the implications of this report to be discussed by your favorite local political figures tomorrow at 1:30.

MORE: Null Space describes the increases as "incomprehensible" (only partially because he's looking at our present baseline MMO of $38M instead of the "MMO+" of $47M we've been managing to pay) and then finds "worse" news in it.

PA STATE HOUSE = GOP by +12ish

That's the really alarming news, particularly if you're holding onto exotic wishes like "statewide pensions reform" or "public transit".