- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
The Mayor's $2.6 billion wish list
The Mayor headed to Chicago this week with a $2.6 billion wish list for the Obama administration.
While other cities like Boston were much more humble in their ask – $183 million for B-Town – not so for our Mayor, who was among a handful of cities asking for billions in aid. It’s worth checking out all 8 pages because it lays out the administration’s economic priorities and a vision for the Philadelphia future they see.
On the other hand there are other troubling items. Among these:
- Library system expansion: Construction of two new regional libraries in north and south sections of the city: $30 million
How does an administration that is justifying the closure of 11 library branches because they want to “right-size” the city now go hat-in-hand to the federal government asking for two more branches that are almost 6 times the cost of keeping those branches open?
Actually there’s more for libraries, almost $70 million more in fact:
- Free Library: Renovation and expansion of Central Library and regional branches : $25 million
- Exterior modernization of libraries: windows and roof replacements at all libraries: $9 million
- Branch library improvements: Upgrade of facilities including structural and mechanical systems: $5 million
Underserved communities weren’t forgotten, because look here:
- Bookmobiles: Purchase and deployment of bookmobiles in underserved communities in the city: $500,000
There are more fun things to find in the Main Street Economic Recovery goodie bag. For example, when the Mayor’s top staff say a casino will revive the Market East corridor? Actually it’ll be our tax dollars that do that:
- Market Street Corrido-Market East: Acquisition, construction, infrastructure and related costs to revitalize Market East Corridor and Convention Center District, including adjacent Chinatown development: $100 million
- Revitalization of West Market Street: Renovations, construction, and infrastructure repair on the West Market Street corridor: $50 million
- Casino Entertainment corridor: Construction of a new combined 50,000 square foot facility to serve the citizens among the developing entertainment corridor. The location would include the relocation of the 6th and 9th police districts: $17 million
So if we’re asking for $167 million to turn around Market East on our own, what are we doing with a slots house there in the first place? And I’m pretty sure that Center City ought to be interested to hear that two police districts – which go river to river, Lombard to Poplar – will now be at Market East rather than in their respective neighborhoods.
Or what about this?
- Renovation and new schools: to support renovation efforts, fund new school and replacement schools: $150 million
At first I was happy that the schools were included until I noticed that the City asked for $110 million for one new Youth Study Center alone and $80 million for ramps for the Philadelphia Museum of Art (nothing against the museum but I don’t see how they fit into the Main Street part of economic recovery).
Former Philadelphia Schools CEO Paul Vallas said that a decent capital effort of the hundreds of school buildings in the district, whose average age is 70 years, would cost around $10 billion. So $150 million isn't quite up to snuff.
I’ll leave the rest of the analysis to others here.