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NEWS
September 6, 2016
ISSUE | MAYOR'S FUND Use $$$ in schools As a Philadelphia taxpayer, I am outraged at the existence of a Mayor's Fund, which paid for almost $400,000 in unapproved trips, parties, and undocumented purchases ("Kill Mayor's Fund and give money to the schools," Thursday). As the grandmother of a Philadelphia School District student, I am appalled at how that money was spent when our schools don't have sufficient books, paper, and pencils, let alone counselors, art teachers, qualified substitute teachers, and well-functioning buildings.
BUSINESS
September 4, 2016 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Staff Writer
Can we have too much of a good thing?   Index funds are guided not by the wizardly stock-pickers of old but by number crunchers who buy lists of representative securities and hold them, rise or fall. They have cut costs and boosted profits for large and small investors. But U.S. and European professors scrutinizing the impact of the Big Three index-fund purveyors - BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, and State Street Corp. - say they see, in the triumph of indexing, not just a cheap way for investors to squeeze profits but also threats to capitalism as we know it. Index funds and managers of index "strategies" now control 34 percent of global stocks by value, up from 25 percent just five years ago, writes Inigo Fraser-Jenkins, in a report last month for Sanford C. Bernstein, New York.
NEWS
September 2, 2016 | By Allison Steele, Staff Writer
George E. Norcross III, the longtime Democratic power broker in South Jersey and chairman of Cooper University Health Care, announced the launch Wednesday of a $28.5 million fund that will pay for construction and renovation of Camden's "Renaissance" schools. Norcross, also an insurance executive, said that he would raise $5.7 million from local organizations and individuals, including $1 million from his family, and that the rest would come from 4-to-1 matching by national philanthropic foundations.
NEWS
September 2, 2016 | By Jay A. McCalla
By Jay A. McCalla For the last several weeks, Philadelphians have been witness to a heated, personalized argument between former Mayor Michael Nutter and current City Controller Alan Butkovitz over spending from the little known Mayor's Fund and whether or not it was all properly authorized. The overlay of personal insult, a defamation lawsuit, and the questioning of motives has tended to obscure a very basic question: Why does the the mayor need to lay his hands on $5 million to $10 million (or any portion of it)
NEWS
August 26, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
Former City Representative Desiree Peterkin Bell - who last week was accused by City Controller Alan Butkovitz of using revenue from the Philadelphia Marathon as a "slush fund" to pay for former Mayor Michael A. Nutter's pet projects - filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday, alleging that the controller's actions were malicious and reckless, and caused her great harm. Also named as a defendant was Ashley Del Bianco, executive director of the Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia, the account which Butkovitz said was improperly used to pay for - among other things - a trip to Rome for Nutter and his staff in connection with last year's papal visit, an open bar at an NAACP reception, and a going-away party for Nutter.
NEWS
August 26, 2016 | By Theodore Arapis
Pennsylvania needs to take a crash course in school funding fairness. That's one conclusion drawn from the 2016 National Report Card (NRC), which gave the Keystone State a D for its inequitable funding system. Although ranked among states that generally provide high fiscal support to their school districts, Pennsylvania is in the unenviable company of 13 other states deemed regressive in their school-funding levels. According to 2013 data, the most recent available, Pennsylvania school districts with 30 percent of their student body living at the poverty level received 7 percent less per-pupil state funding than school districts with no students living in poverty.
NEWS
August 25, 2016 | By Maddie Hanna, TRENTON BUREAU
Gov. Christie got pushback Tuesday during a forum in Burlington County on his pitch to revamp New Jersey's school funding system, as he faced questions on how poor districts would absorb the cuts his proposal would necessitate. "You can't get blood from a stone," Sue Altman, an education consultant who recently moved to Camden, told the governor in Bordentown City. She questioned how Camden residents could compensate for the loss of most of their school district's state aid under Christie's plan, which the governor is promoting as a tax-relief measure.
BUSINESS
August 24, 2016 | By Jane M. Von Bergen, Staff Writer
The same group that invested in Uber - and proudly claims it has disrupted the taxi and limo business - will soon, through one of its companies, open an office in Philadelphia with the aim of disrupting recruitment in niche fields of technology. TPG Growth, which has invested in Uber, Airbnb, and Spotify, is the majority owner of Frank Recruitment Group, the British-based company that chose Philadelphia for its third U.S. office. "You have a high density of bright college graduates who are up for a challenge," said Frank chief executive James Lloyd Townshend, explaining why his company picked Philadelphia.
NEWS
August 23, 2016 | By Claudia Vargas, Staff Writer
IN APRIL 2015, the board of directors of the Mayor's Fund for Philadelphia turned down a $25,000 grant request to market the city to the World Heritage City selection committee. "The designation of Philadelphia as a World Heritage City is not a high priority from the board's perspective," the minutes of the meeting stated. Two months later, without board approval or apparent knowledge, the Mayor's Fund came up with $10,000 for the effort, a pet project of Michael Nutter's when Nutter was mayor.
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