From The Wall Street Journal:
Pennsylvania state Rep. Todd Eachus, from left, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Rep. Keith McCall and Rep. Dwight Evans are all smiles Thursday in Harrisburg, Pa. The legislature approved a plan to help close Philadelphia's budget shortfall by raising the sales tax and deferring some pension obligations.
Just like Pennsylvania, Philadelphia is bloated with employees hired to secure votes.
City governments have also expanded during the past 15 years. While local-government payrolls, excluding teachers, have been flat for the past 12 months, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, the number of employees soared by more than 743,000 to 6.49 million over the past decade, an increase of nearly 13%.
Could part of the pension problem be due to this.
In 2006, there were more city pension recipients (33,900) than city workers (28,700) and the gap is expected to widen in coming years.
The amount of city employees' pensions, ranging from around $29,000 to $40,000, are similar to other cities, but Philadelphia city workers contribute less of their own money than workers in other cities. For example, municipal employees in San Francisco contribute 9 percent to their own pension plans, compared with 1.85 percent for Philadelphia city workers.
The report's authors place much of the blame on the city's paltry contributions to the pension fund during the 1970s and 1980s and what they call a "poorly timed" decision to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to reduce unfunded liability.
Regarding health care, Philadelphia's situation is extreme even compared to other big cities grappling with similar challenges, according to the report.
Health care for municipal workers cost the city more than $9,800 per employee in fiscal 2006 , a figure second only to Detroit. When it comes to health care costs for retirees, Philadelphia tops the list of 10 cities studied at more than $9,100 per retiree.
But the Democratic answer is to raise more taxes. It should be noted that Philadelphia hasn't had a Republican Mayor since 1952.
Mayor Nutter why don't you take these ideas and implement them before you raise taxes. The full text of those ideas are viewable here. To the Pennsylvania legislature, why didn't you force Nutter to implement these ideas before you granted his tax hike?
Here's a look at one of them.
The City Controller and the Mayor’s Office aren’t expected to be best buddies. But in the midst of this city’s fiscal crisis, Controller Alan Butkovitz identified $300 million in one-shot savings and roughly $185 million in annual savings over five years, including a proposal to get many millions more in revenue out of the city’s emergency medical services (EMS) operations. The Nutter administration ignored most of his ideas.
According to this article that appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer written By Patrick Kerkstra the sales tax hike from 7 to 8 percent will raise $10 million a month or $120 million for the year. The City Controller identified over 4 times that much in savings without a single tax increase. But whoever said government was smart. And we should keep electing the same legislators for what reason???