Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday: ISO Tenable Positions

Contrast the state retirement fund for Pennsylvania with that of Georgia:

The $26.3 billion Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System has more than 46 percent of its assets in riskier alternatives, including nearly 400 private equity, venture capital and real estate funds. (NYT, Julie Creswell)

Meanwhile, Georgia prohibits itself by law from pursuing "risky" or especially fee-laden investments, and has been doing about 2% better. Food for thought, possibly on any level of government.

Now. Much closer to home:

[Councilman Daniel] Lavelle wants the 37.5 percent city parking tax on [Penguins development] spaces -- he estimates there would be about 800 of them -- to benefit the Hill District.

Under his bill, half of the parking tax generated by the "interim parking" would go to the Sports and Exhibition Authority, and the other half would go to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The two entities own the 28-acre arena site, across Centre Avenue from Consol Energy Center, the Penguins' new home that is leased from the SEA. (P-G, Joe Smydo)

While there is some small room for debating the relative efficiency of money sent to the URA versus that of a community panel benefiting a given neighborhood, there certainly must be less doubt as to which mechanism would be more empowering, and more conceptually in line with "avoiding the mistakes of the past." Some neighborhood groups and some in community development understandably would share access to determining slices of pie outright, rather than have it portioned out by a hoary government institution with its own bureaucracy and priorities. Of course, I'm unaware whether a broadly representative Greater Hill District stakeholders round table ever got together to make what would have to be fair internal dispersal of funds feasible -- but then again I'm not sure whether the URA keeps one of those either.

A better issue, perhaps: parking tax, eh? Hasn't that already been spoken for? Regardless of who "gets" any funds generated, I wonder if Redwood's dollar-a-car off-the-top proposal isn't more advantageous, since taxpayers as a general set aren't the ones who have reaped benefit from a legacy of imperialism. Although the $1 bills would come out of parkers' wallets, wouldn't pricing and the market lead to this being more likely to be culled from the private share?

And finally:

The already-indispensable blog Today's the Day Harrisburg is ready for its closeup. A bit tough to navigate right now through the POP! :) but forage for the good stuff:

As I watched, tweeted, and noted David Unkovic give his statement to a small number of reporters in his office, I knew this was historic. Unkovic delivered blows. He named names. He was frank about his concerns. He talked of “joint venture” and “parties” and referenced a timeline of people, places, and things that have happened to put the City of Harrisburg where it’s at—in trouble. (TTDH, Tara Lee Auchey)

Digging through the older posts, one has to keep reminding oneself: this isn't an anonymous blog.

Anyhow, days later, that Commonwealth Court appointee resigned. This will all merit careful study.

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