Long story... but I'm back.
So I learn from Early Returns that the City of Pittsburgh's euphemism as oversight board, otherwise known as the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA), is still
around. Who knew?
They seem to be looking at the city's debt. I need to update my graphic below which is my
calculation of the long term trend in the city's debt when calculated per
household. But then I realized it really is a philosophical question these days what
the city's debt is.
So remember the whole debate over the notional 'asset' the
city's pension fund now counts. A
promise of future parking tax revenue is actuarially monetized to be counted as
an asset. I still want to know ..... if
it is really an 'asset' could the pension board sell it to a third party? Is that almost the definition of 'asset'. OK, skip that, but it has a big corollary that goes like this:
So if the pension board is counting the diverted parking
revenues as an 'asset'.. is it not the case that the same promised revenue
stream is an equally valued debt to the city of Pittsburgh's accounting?
Why ask why?
But if you look at my un-updated graphic below (from this old post) you see the long term trend in city debt when caluclated per resident household in the city of Pittsburgh. What you see is a big jump in the mid/late 1990's when the city of Pittsburgh floated a big Pension Bond to put $$ into the pension fund. So was not this big new and notional asset in the form of parking revenue meant to do the same exact thing? Yes? No? Think about it? The difference between the two capitalizations is that one was at least a bit more honest than the other. Sure seems to me that one side of a ledger got some money that is mostly being ignored on the other. It all might work out if there was a City of Pittsburgh central bank, but otherwise a bit problematic.