Philadelphians, City Controller Alan Butkovitz just didn’t want you to be too happy on this holiday.
Why else release last night, just in time for the day of thanks, a thoroughly depressing, though realistic report, called
“Philadelphia’s New Funding Reality.” t
To sum up the political backdrop: Ed Rendell’s time in Harrisburg is nearly up. Dwight Evans’ clout is gone. Vince Fumo is in jail and John Perzel could be headed there. And Arlen Specter is a couple of weeks from an unwanted, forced retirement.
In other words, every savvy pol who has been grooving goodies towards his home city for the last decade or so is gone. Republicans from Pennsyltuckey and Pittsburgh call the shots in the state Capitol. The new U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey, is a sincere fiscal conservative who’s sworn off earmarks.
Butkovitz’ report puts numbers and dollar signs on the creeping fear that the government gravy train will no longer stop in Philly.
In the current budget the state provides the city with $1.8 billion; of that, the report says, $1.2 billion comes in the form of special revenues that could be slashed at will.“The prevalence of a vocal budget slashing contingent of new lawmakers in Washington as well as Harrisburg puts all programs on the table as far as cuts go,” said Butkovitz.
The city school district, a separate entity that did great revenue-wise under Rendell, has a $1.5 billion at stake in what goes down in Harrisburg.“If comments that are being made in Harrisburg ring true, the School District should brace itself,” the controller said.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Alan.
You can see the full report here.