- 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?
Seems like time for Plan D
It looks pretty likely, based on today's Harrisburg report, and others over the weekend, that we're not going to get quick passage of HB 1828 with the Senate's pension changes. More likely, the House will amend the Senate's version, the Senate will nonconcur, and a Conference Committee will meet and meet and meet and . . .
This is no longer a question of whether we should call for changes to the Senate bill, but what the City should do now given the real possibility that there will be no bill. And the answer is: it needs to dust off some of the tax ideas that Council dispensed with in the Spring. No doubt, as we've discussed, passing any local tax bill now would create legal issues, but putting up some questionable taxes is a hell of a lot better than laying off 3,000 employees without at least trying something else. And, as I've said before, there's an excellent chance that a tax to replace the sales tax would be upheld since it would not support increased spending over the level that's already in the budget.
Then there's the revenue needed to make the City's pension payment. There is that Supreme Court case, Mastrangelo v. Buckley, that held the City can't increase taxes in the middle of a budget year to support new spending. And the pension payment isn't in the current budget. But the Court could easily distinguish Mastrangelo from the current situation. Here we're talking about spending that's required by state law, something not present in the earlier case. Any Court that wants to, not to mention our notoriously flexible Supreme Court, could use that distinction or any of a number of others to let us make the pension payment without emasculating City services.
The mayor has said the sky will fall if we don't have the revenue he's counting on from Harrisburg. Well if he means it, he'd better quickly get behind other ways to get the money.