January 9, 2013
EVERY NEW superintendent releases a plan soon after taking office - a blueprint for how things will be different this time as he attempts to turn around our struggling schools. Superintendent William Hite's action plan for city schools, released Monday, calls for higher SAT scores, early literacy and placement of more students in advanced math. But his plan has something that recent superintendents haven't included in theirs: an acknowledgment that money is a problem. As he explains, "The School District of Philadelphia does not have the luxury to set its education agenda without regard for financial implications and sustainability, nor can it be successful if financial decisions are divorced from educational impact.
January 3, 2013 |
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - In Philadelphia, pension costs doubled in a single decade. Cities in Rhode Island dimmed streetlights, raised taxes and put off road repairs. Stockton, Calif., fell into bankruptcy. Unpaid bills from decades of retirement promises made to public workers, combined with a lackluster economy and steep Wall Street losses, have built up a financial mountain that threatens to overwhelm budgets and operations in cities and counties across the country. While it hasn't gotten the attention of the "fiscal cliff" in Washington, the pension crisis at City Hall could have similar effects as mayors are forced to raise taxes, cut government services or renege on retirement promises made to police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers.
December 18, 2012 |
CITY COUNCIL dealt with bikers and billboards before wrapping up its calendar for the year, but "the blob" was left untouched. Mayor Nutter sent a bill to Council in October that would shift future elected officials and thousands of city employees to a lower-cost pension plan, but it was never introduced. Although Nutter says the shift to the lower-benefit pensions is the right way to fill a hole that threatens how much the city can spend on everything else, Council says it's taking its time to get it right.
December 16, 2012 |
A Hostess Brands Inc. union and a pension fund said they were appealing the court order that gave the bankrupt Twinkie maker permission to wind down. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain, at a Nov. 29 hearing in White Plains, N.Y., approved Hostess' requests to shut down and to pay as much as $1.83 million in incentives to 19 senior managers, while overruling objections to the bonuses. The creditors are appealing the wind-down order entered in the case on Nov. 30, according to court papers filed Friday by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union and the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund.
December 7, 2012 |
THE DEBATE OVER U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's unconventional proposal to have a nonprofit be a partner with a gaming company so that casino profits can be funneled to Philadelphia now moves to City Council. Council on Thursday approved hearings on the idea. Only Councilman David Oh voted no. The hearings, proposed by Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and Jim Kenney, would "examine the feasibility and legality" of what the resolution calls "an extraordinary opportunity. " The nonprofit, established on Nov. 15 as the Philadelphia Casino Benefit Corp., would direct its share of the casino profits to the city's underfunded pension fund and school district.
November 28, 2012
City Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and James F. Kenney are calling for a hearing to consider a proposal from Penn National Gaming Inc. to use profits from a casino to help fund city schools and the municipal pension fund. Johnson will submit a resolution for a hearing at Council's Dec. 6 session. Penn National is one of six groups vying for the city's second casino license. Under its proposal, the company would create a nonprofit to hold two-thirds of the equity in the casino. In a letter sent Wednesday to Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger, Johnson and Kenney said that while they had not endorsed any application for a casino license, they think the Penn National idea should be explored.
November 27, 2012
City Councilmen Kenyatta Johnson and James F. Kenney are calling for a hearing to consider a proposal from Penn National Gaming Inc. to use profits from a casino to help fund city schools and the municipal pension fund. Johnson will submit a resolution for a hearing at the Dec. 6 Council session. Penn National is one of six groups vying for the city's second casino license. Under its proposal, the company would create a nonprofit to hold two-thirds of the equity in the casino.
November 19, 2012 |
On paper, it looks altruistic enough: Build a South Philadelphia casino through a public-private partnership and earmark two-thirds of the profits to benefit city schools and pensioners. That's the premise behind the proposed Hollywood Casino Philadelphia at the stadium complex, one of six projects vying for the second and final city gaming license. The problem, and possibly a big one: City officials, namely Mayor Nutter, were never dialed into the plan. The unconventional proposal - crafted by gambling powerhouse Penn National Gaming Inc. and Democratic U.S. Rep. Bob Brady - would allow Penn National a one-third stake in a casino to be built at the South Philadelphia Turf Club at 700 Packer Ave.; two-thirds of the profits would go to the Philadelphia School District and the city's pension fund via a nonprofit.
October 26, 2012
The Pennsylvania Senate has a powerful voice on state policy, including key issues of gun control, health care, transportation funding, taxes, and natural gas drilling. Here are The Inquirer's recommendations in contested area Senate races. NINTH DISTRICT Since Sen. Dominic F. Pileggi became the Senate's Republican leader six years ago, he has faced opponents who hope to turn his reelection into a referendum on Harrisburg GOP policies. That's never been a problem for Pileggi, 54, a former mayor of Chester, who is a cautious moderate and fiscal conservative.
October 25, 2012
IN THE REGION Preit: City help needed to redo Gallery Efforts to secure public financing to redevelop the Gallery at Market East are a "work in progress" and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is working on "a number of government concessions that need to occur," Preit chief executive Joseph F. Coradino told investors Wednesday in a quarterly earnings call. "The scope and scale of the project is going to be driven to a great extent by the amount of public financing that we end up getting," Coradino said.