PICA vs. the budget

    Someone alert the Academy: It’s Our Money is making a summer blockbuster movie. It’s called “PICA 2011: Judgment Day.” Here’s our tag line: In a world of many fiscal dangers, one city budget fights to survive. The plot? This Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, also known as PICA, will vote on whether to approve the city’s five-year plan. PICA’s job is to make sure the city has enough money to cover the spending it projects over the next five years. So, for instance, if the city projects tax revenues going up for no reason, PICA can nix the plan. This is where things get scary. The city doesn’t want PICA to do that, because the Authority has the power to withhold state funds from the city. Over the past week, budget-watchers have pointed out potential threats to the city’s plan. For instance, the plan assumes about $60 million in labor savings over five years. But the city is still negotiating contracts with two of its municipal unions, and the arbitration award is not yet settled. So PICA might consider it a risk for the city to assume those savings. Will the five-year plan be able to fight off threats like this, and win PICA’s approval? On this week’s It’s Our Money podcast, Doron Taussig and Juliana Reyes present the trailer for PICA 2011: Judgment Day.

    “It’s Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation.

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