January 16, 2012 |
After months of sparring in bankruptcy court, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association and the national musicians' pension plan from which the orchestra is withdrawing are negotiating the terms of their split. Under discussion are the amounts the association would pay, and over what period of time, to the American Federation of Musicians and Employers' Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), said the orchestra association's lawyer, Lawrence G. McMichael. Although the association won't contribute to it anymore, the fund will still be responsible for providing some benefits players earn.
December 13, 2011
THE MOST recent travails of the Postal Service - with major cuts to service amid fears that the system could go bankrupt soon - do not sound altogether dissimilar to the debate over public education in the last few years. Both systems are bedrocks of our country's founding principles that no longer seem to be working. They're relics of former times that need to be updated to a less expensive, modern and, possibly, more private-sector model. And in both cases, it's not clear just how much of the crisis is real and how much is manufactured by those hoping to reap the rewards of dismantling it. It's hard to believe that the Postal Service wasn't doomed the first time AOL announced "You've got mail" almost two decades ago. The continued embrace of technology for bill-paying has also done its damage.
December 8, 2011 |
Bucks County probably will need to raise property taxes for the first time in six years to fund part of a $24.3 million shortfall in next year's budget, a county official said Wednesday. "I don't know how we do it," chief operating officer Brian Hessenthaler said about keeping taxes at 21.942 mills, or $785 for property assessed at the county average of $35,800. "I know it's a bad time, but we haven't had a tax increase in five years," Hessenthaler said. "You can only go to the well so many times.
November 30, 2011
The city is going after about 2,500 Philadelphia pensioners or their beneficiaries who owe back taxes, highlighting an awful collision between two of the city's worst fiscal problems: Many residents don't pay their taxes, and the city pension fund is about to implode. The retirees owe almost $13 million in back taxes. In pursuing them, the cash-strapped city says it will take each case's circumstances into account, which is the right approach. After all, putting people on a realistic payment plan is probably the only way the city will get its money.
November 16, 2011 |
A RECENT SECURITY breach caused the names and Social Security numbers of about 2,000 members of the pension fund for Pennsylvania public-school employees to be accessible to the public, state officials said yesterday. The Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) notified about 2,000 of its more than 600,000 members about the situation by letter last week, spokeswoman Evelyn M. Tatkovski said. The letter offered a year of free credit monitoring to those whose data have been compromised.
November 9, 2011 |
IT'S NOT easy at the top. Maybe Mayor Nutter didn't know that four years ago, when he ascended to the city's highest office, promising government reform and a "new way" of leadership. But he certainly does now. Many of Nutter's lofty plans were delayed or downsized due to fiscal crisis. Balancing the budget required three years of tax hikes. His political relationships have faltered as some former friends have become foes. And he's been hit with epic snowstorms, a hurricane and an earthquake.
November 8, 2011 |
Philadelphia Orchestra Association to U.S. Bankruptcy Court: Please stop the national musicians' pension fund from harassing our donors. In a motion filed last week in the association's Chapter 11 case, orchestra management says the American Federation of Musicians and Employers Pension Fund is seeking financial information from 16 philanthropists "only in a continued effort to embarrass and harass the [association] and their donors. " Such an inquiry will have a "tremendous and devastating impact" on fund-raising, the association asserts.
November 4, 2011 |
AH, THE OUTRAGEOUS behavior of Big Finance - we remember like it was only yesterday. Because it was. It's essentially only yesterday that Bank of America transferred all of its potential Merrill Lynch gambling debt to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the taxpayer, even as it tried to impose a $5 debit-card fee. Only yesterday that MF Global went bust after mingling investor money with the company's gambling account and making stupid bets, reaffirming the wisdom of Glass-Steagall, and exposing the lunacy of Wall Street compensation - MF head Jon Corzine tried to pay himself $12 million on the way out, after taking the stock from $7 to $1.50.
October 25, 2011 |
THERE'S NO LOVE lost between City Councilman Brian O'Neill and Bill Rubin, his Democratic challenger. That much was abundantly clear last night when the two went head-to-head in a debate at the Raymond and Miriam Klein Jewish Community Center, on Jamison Road near Red Lion in Northeast Philly. A small crowd showed up to watch the pair trade verbal jabs, even though the race for the Northeast's 10th Councilmanic District is shaping up as one of the city's most competitive with the Nov. 8 election drawing ever closer.