Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The good, the bad.... and the sugary

The good and the bad.   Pew has updated its look at city finances which includes Pittsburgh in their benchmarking.   The good: we are only city they look at which is showing a budget surplus this year.  The bad: the worst funded pension system by far. 

Their Pittsburgh synopsis:

Thanks to deep budget-cutting under state fiscal watchdogs, Pittsburgh started fiscal 2010 on January 1 with a modest surplus. But flat revenues and high labor costs soon flipped the city into the red, and by mid-May it was projecting a slight deficit through the end of 2010. The city’s pension funds lie at the heart of the problem, creating a huge extra cost for the general fund. The pensions had a funded ratio of 34 percent in 2009, the lowest among all 13 cities.

Struggling to prevent a state takeover of its pension system, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and city leaders have been exploring several potential revenue sources to present to state legislators for approval. The ideas included leasing about 20 city-owned garages, raising the voluntary payments to the city made by nonprofit institutions, privatizing the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, raising a tax on earnings, hiking parking fines, and imposing a sugar-sweetened drink tax.
So we are like Splenda-burgh.  Half bad calories and half some mysterious chemical that will save us from ourselves.

2 Comments:

Anonymous MH said...

Struggling to prevent a state takeover of its pension system, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and city leaders have been exploring several

Just out of curiosity, does anybody who isn't a city leader worry about a state takeover? Would a state takeover hurt the retirees, current workers, or taxpayers? Because I'd certainly prefer the city hold assets like garages as oppose to easy to steal/fritter away things like cash and stock.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I heard a state takeover would force the city to make much larger payments, which could lead to increased taxes.

Friday, May 28, 2010 4:51:00 PM  

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