Happy Days are Here Again

Happy Days are Here Again

So, after an exhausting week in which City Council tried a variety of methods and went to the wire to beat the deadline of a possible state takeover of its pensions, citing the disastrous by-products of having the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System (PMRS) administer pensions and compelling higher payments under Act 44, noting that the state would do horrible things if it became the controlling entity of the underfunded pension system, what did City Council begin deliberating on today?

Giving its blessing to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to pursue up to $14.3 million in public money from the state’s Budget Office under the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Budget.

That’s right-the same cold and heartless state that was ready to wrest control of the pensions is now being asked to pony up some money for redevelopment projects, all in the name of removing blight.

There’s $2.1 million for the Symphony, $0.500 million for an Amalgamated Transit Union project, $4.5 million for a parking garage, $2.1 million for residential development in the Strip District, and $5 million for rehabilitation of the Goodwill building in the South Side.

Its not the first time the City (or any other municipality in the state) has petitioned for money from the RACP, but less than a week after the rollercoaster ride aimed at throwing any possible revenue source at the wall to avoid a state takeover? What’s the message here?