Sales tax bill may reduce pensions

    The Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would allow the city to raise the sales tax and delay pension payments. But there could be strings attached.

    With the prospect of a so-called “doomsday” budget looming over his head, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter returns to Harrisburg Wednesday to lobby for assistance. The Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would allow the city to raise the sales tax and delay pension payments. But there could be strings attached.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090825spbudget.mp3]

    In exchange for approving a sales tax hike, Senate Republicans have added amendments to the bill that might prove unpopular to some Philadelphians. One could force the city to reduce pension benefits for future city employees.

    Bob Bedard, of the city’s white collar union AFSCME District Council 47, says the provision would reward the city for bad behavior.

    Bedard: It’s not as though employees pay in too little or get benefits that are out of line with anyone else’s its that the city has defaulted on its obligation and now due to their default, they may get the chance to underfund the next series of pensions which would hurt employees.

    If the bill passes through the Senate with the amendments, it has to go back to the House for approval.

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