Actuarial Outpost
 
Go Back   Actuarial Outpost > Actuarial Discussion Forum > Finance - Investments
FlashChat Actuarial Discussion Preliminary Exams CAS/SOA Exams Cyberchat Around the World Suggestions


Finance - Investments Sub-forum: Non-Actuarial Personal Finance/Investing

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #501  
Old 01-26-2018, 06:09 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

http://www.kansascity.com/news/polit...196699864.html

Quote:
KC sits on $1.5 billion in debt. How will it pay for services, meet pension promises?
Spoiler:
On maps, Kansas City sits at the eastern edge of the Great Plains. On balance sheets, it’s atop a mountain of debt and pension obligations.

City Hall’s credit card carries a balance of $1.5 billion in tax-supported debt, about triple what it was at the turn of the century. It comes to $3,100 in unpaid bills for every adult and child in the city –– and much higher than per capita debt in peer cities such as Fort Worth, Oklahoma City and Omaha.

That doesn’t include the cost of pensions for municipal employees. The city is $811.7 million short of what it needs to make good on commitments to current and future retirees — up from $587.6 million in 2014. In 2000, the shortage was $21 million. The escalating price tag will bring the city back to the bargaining table later this year, when agreements with employee unions allow for a reopening of negotiations on pension issues.

Over time, bond debt and the pension tab could destabilize the city’s finances, critics say, squeezing the cash available for basics like trash pick up, pothole repair and police and fire service.

Never miss a local story.
Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

SUBSCRIBE NOW
“We’re pretty much off the charts relative to our peers,” said Crosby Kemper III, co-founder and chairman of the Show-Me Institute, a conservative think tank. “We have high debt and therefore high taxes.”

The sale of bonds has paid for signature downtown projects like Sprint Center, the Power and Light District and expanded Bartle Hall. The city will also use $800 million in general obligation bond funding, approved by voters last year, to upgrade flood control and rehabilitate badly deteriorated roads and bridges.

City Manager Troy Schulte defends that spending:

“Investing in infrastructure that will last 40, 50 more years is the correct use of debt. Just as people know that a mortgage is good debt as you invest in property to secure your family’s home and future.” Going forward, the city plans to pay off about $100 million in debt each year, while using $40 million annually in bond sales for the long-deferred repairs. Schulte said the goal is to eliminate most of the debt over the next 15 to 20 years.

Kemper noted that some of the debt-financed developments, like Sprint Center, have justified the public investment. But it will be many years before the city retires the debt it took on for Power and Light, the seven-block entertainment district built by Cordish Co. of Baltimore with the help of $295 million in bonds issued in 2006.

Kemper described the project as “a subsidy of the drinking habits of young Johnson Countians.”

The project brought in $6.4 million in revenues last year, not nearly enough to cover the $16.5 million in debt service payments. The city has since said it will no longer guarantee that kind of debt for big development ventures.

Pensions pose the bigger long-term challenge, officials said. While city revenues have grown an average of about 1.5 percent over the last ten years, pension expenses have risen by nearly seven percent.

In 2018, the city contributed $81. 2 million to its four employee pension plans (police, fire, municipal workers and police civilian personnel) in the current fiscal year. Most of it ($64.6 million) is from the general fund, where it comprises 12 percent of total spending.

If those annual payments were a city agency, it would have an operating budget larger than the housing and health departments combined.

Many factors have combined over time to dramatically escalate costs.

Until a few years ago, the city contributed less than the annual amount recommended by analysts for the pension plans, each operated by independent administrators and boards of trustees. Returns on investment of pension funds, also handled by each board, have been lower than predicted. People are living longer, which means they are drawing more payments.

Then there was the recession. While it officially ended in 2009, the funds never completely recovered their losses. In 2008, the four funds had money to cover, on average, 89.3 percent of future costs. That has dipped to 75 percent.

There are only a few potential fixes: higher contributions from employees or city government; reductions in benefits, or all of the above. Another option is switching to a 401K system in which the city matches a certain portion of employee contributions. Former City Councilman John Sharp cautioned that cutting too deeply into pensions means “irreparable damage to your recruiting and retention,” making the city less competitive for hiring top talent.

“I do think in the labor market you get what you pay for,” Sharp said. “Our salaries for many positions, especially the ones with hourly wages, are not what the private sector pays. And if you’re not going to pay competitive salaries, you better have a good benefit package.”

Wall Street is watching the situation. Moody’s, one of the ratings agencies that advises in investors on Kansas City’s financial health, downgraded its outlook last year from “stable” to “negative.” It cited the potential long-term effects of high debt and what it called “a significantly elevated pension liability.”

“These things will require more and more of the city’s resources,” said Kenneth Surgenor, an analyst for Moody’s public finance group.

Moody’s still gives the city a credit rating just a couple of notches below the coveted AAA standard. But without a plan to address pension obligations, that could slide, meaning that the city would have to borrow at higher interest rates. Those costs would ultimately be passed on to taxpayers.

Unfunded pension obligations will bring the city back to the bargaining table later this year, when contracts with its police, fire and municipal employee unions allow for a reopening of negotiations on pension issues.

“We’re losing ground,” said city finance director Randall Landes. “It’s time to think again collectively at what we need to to do as a city to make ensure were able to meet all the promises we’ve made for all the benefits we’ve negotiated.”

Other cities and states, including Kansas and Missouri, face the same dilemma. In 2016, local governments faced a pension investment gap of $3.7 trillion, according to Moody’s.

Last November, Houston voters passed a $1 billion bond referendum to fund public sector pensions. Dallas is looking at more than $3 billion in pension liabilities, worsened by bad real estate investments.

Kansas City thought it had worked out a long-term solution. Following some of the recommendations of a task force formed in 2010 by then-Mayor Mark Funkhouser, it negotiated with unions for changes in each of the plans.

In general, they required employees to contribute a higher percentage of their pay. New hires need to work longer to receive full retirement benefits. They will also receive a smaller annual cost of living adjustments when they start collecting their pensions.

And, the city agreed to pay the full annual cost as recommended by fund actuaries. It took three years to hammer out the changes with union leaders. But in 2013, officials hailed the reforms.

City Councilwoman Jan Marcason, who chaired the council’s finance committee, called the changes as a “milestone.” Schulte said the agreement “puts us on a path to address a $600 million underfunded liability over the next 30 years.”

Instead, the balance continued to grow, reaching $811 million in 2017.

“They’re not making the progress we hoped they would when we made our report five years ago,” said attorney Herb Kohn, a one-time adviser to former Mayor Kay Barnes, who headed the pension task force. He suggested that it might be time for another outside group to revisit the issues.

Pension finances have been hurt by overoptimistic forecasts of investment returns. City plans have predicted annual gains of about 7.5 percent. While markets have been hot recently, they’ve also been volatile. For the last four years, fire fighters returns have averaged 6.4 percent.

Other cities are making those adjustments. Last year the Los Angeles pension board voted to cut its assumed rate of return to from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent.

“Our assumptions about the market need to be as close to reality as possible,” said Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner, perhaps as low as six percent.

Others suggest that the city didn’t go far enough. An analysis by the Citizens Association, a non-partisan government reform group, called the task force recommendations “thoughtful but modest.” The group called for more fundamental changes, such as lowering of pension “multipliers”–– numbers applied to annual salaries and years of service that determine the size of a retiree’s payment.

Fire Captain Bill Galvin president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 42, and Brad Lemon, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The last round of pension talks, completed in 2013, took three years. City officials said they expect the coming negotiations to be just as complex and contentious.

“Hard and political,” Landes predicted.

__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #502  
Old 01-30-2018, 06:57 AM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

PENSIONS AND MUNIS

https://www.barrons.com/articles/the...ket-1517020424

Quote:
The Ticking Time Bomb in the Municipal-Bond Market
Many state and local governments have promised generous pensions they can’t afford. Investors may be the victims.
Spoiler:
'There's a looming disaster in the market for municipal debt. Every market participant knows about it, and there isn't much any of them can do about it.

Many state and local governments, even more than corporations, have promised generous pensions they can't afford. The promises may have looked plausible in the past, especially during the dot-com boom, when money that pension funds put in the markets was doubling.

When the market crashed, so did their returns-and, a few years later, the global financial crisis took out another substantial chunk. And with interest rates at historic lows, bonds have failed to deliver the income the funds relied on.

While governments delay dealing with the problem as long as they can, analysts and researchers are wondering if we have reached the point of no return. For investors in municipal bonds, it could mean future defaults and losses.'
[...and that's all I was able to grab]
Discussion on the piece here: http://socialize.morningstar.com/New...0/3902827.aspx
__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #503  
Old 02-01-2018, 02:33 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

CALIFORNIA
http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-...197715684.html

Quote:
California is collecting so much of your money it can’t save it all
Spoiler:
California’s swelling budget reserves are approaching a point where the state by law can’t save any more money ‑ but don’t expect a tax rebate.

The state is quickly filling up its so-called rainy day fund, the budget stabilization account voters created in 2014 when they passed an initiative that forced lawmakers to save money in flush years. Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal puts the state on pace to fill it with $13.5 billion by July 1, 2019, but the milestone could come even sooner.

By law, the fund can only hold 10 percent of the state’s projected general fund revenue as a hedge against the cuts that would come in a recession. Any additional revenue has to be spent on infrastructure.

If the revenue keeps pouring in, Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor told senators earlier this month they’ll have a lot of options. The money “will be there for you do whatever you want to do with it, build reserves, tax cut, whatever you want to do.”

Never miss a local story.
Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

SUBSCRIBE NOW
But, in one of those only-in-California budget formulas, filling the rainy day fund presents a different kind of problem for legislators.

If they want to use the windfall of today’s booming economy for other priorities, like paying down debt, they’d have to actually spend money before filling the rainy day fund. Otherwise, the additional revenue would have to be spent on infrastructure like roads and prison repairs.

That’s right, California lawmakers might have to spend money to save it.

Here are some of the ideas they’re floating now to make the most of the surplus:

Give it back
Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, remembers the one “glorious time” in the 1980s when California saw a spike in state tax revenue and delivered rebates to taxpayers.

Technically, that could happen again, but don’t hold your breath.

A 1979 ballot initiative that became known as the Gann limit compels state government to return money to taxpayers if state spending exceeds certain thresholds.

Last year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office warned that rising revenue put the Gann limit within reach for the first time in decades. Brown’s office disagreed, and you didn’t get that check.

Nielsen, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said he’d advocate for some kind of rebate even though he knows it’s unlikely.

“Am I confident about the prospect? No, the temptation to spend money is vastly too great.”

Save even more
Lawmakers from both parties back Brown’s pledge to fill the rainy day fund. They’re thankful that the extra money buys them some insurance if a recession hits and cripples state tax revenue.

California’s state budget is especially vulnerable to recessions because its collection of personal income tax leans heavily on high-earners whose income from capital gains can nose dive in a downturn.

But some wonder whether a rainy day fund that holds 10 percent of one year’s revenue is enough. Past recessions, for example, have slashed revenues by 20 percent. Brown’s own budget suggested that a recession could take a $20 billion bite out of the general fund in its first year.

That history has some lawmakers suggesting that the state might need a bigger savings account. They’d have to put an initiative before voters to raise the cap.

“We can say with certainty (a recession) will come. It’s wise to remember that our state revenue is extremely volatile,” said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia, the senior Republican on the Assembly Budget Committee.

Other choices, Taylor told lawmakers in January, include setting aside more money in the state’s emergency fund – the account that pays for unexpected disasters like wildfires – or prepaying known expenses to relieve pressure later.

Tackle pensions
California’s main public pension funds are riding the soaring stock market to banner years. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has gained almost $40 billion since July 1, and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System is up at least $20 billion.

But both systems owe tens of billions of dollars more than they have on hand. Brown’s budget estimated the state has more than $270 billion in debt related to its pension funds and promises it has made to pay for the health care state workers receive in retirement.

“We’ve got to get our balance sheet in better shape,” said Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, referring to the pension debts and the state’s bond debts.

CalPERS and CalSTRS have handed a series of fee increases local governments and school districts since the recession a decade ago to get a better handle on the debts and to fund pensions. Some government agencies say they can’t afford to pay more and they’re worried about how the rate hikes will affect their services if a recession hits.

“The state is taking away more than it is giving primarily by way of the ramping of the CalSTRS pension schedule,” said Democratic Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a former Torrance school board member. “There is such a disconnect between the prevailing narrative here in Sacramento and what the districts are reporting at the local level.”

He wants to fill the rainy day fund, but he said he’s looking for ways to provide some pension relief to school districts.

Build stuff
California has no shortage of deferred maintenance and capital construction projects, from bumpy roads to aging prisons. The Legislative Analyst’s Office two years ago estimated the total bill for those delayed projects topped $77 billion.

That’s why some lawmakers would be happy to see the surplus work as voters intended when they created the rainy day fund four years ago, by first filling up a savings account and then putting money into capital projects.

“We have done a terrible job at investing infrastructure lately in California,” Obernolte said.

Go in another direction
Lawmakers might choose to go in another direction, perhaps by following through on pledges to extend health care coverage to undocumented immigrants, extending tax credits to lower-income residents, expanding access to preschool or by setting aside money to spur more affordable housing projects.

“The state is doing well. We are a great strong economy, we have the lowest unemployment in forever,” said Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, at a January hearing. “And yet … in most of our communities we both see the benefits the strength of the economy has given, but also areas where it has not,” she said, describing proliferating homeless encampments.

She suggested putting $4 billion of the surplus into affordable housing.

Taylor, the legislative analyst, said the state would have a better sense of its financial standing by May. His office in November projected that the state would exceed its revenue expectations over the next 18 months by $3.5 billion. He told senators last month that if he had to update the number, he’d expect that his office would revise its revenue projections upward.

“It’s important to take a moment to enjoy these times budgetarily speaking. They don’t get much better than this,” he said a Senate Budget Committee hearing.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #504  
Old 02-05-2018, 12:46 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by campbell View Post
I guess it will have to be some other muni (San Bernadino?) to fight Calpers

STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA

http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article3474893.html
So we had the Stockton bankruptcy settled in 2014.

This is what they're up to now:
http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-...eriment-2018-1

Quote:
A California city is launching the first US experiment in basic income — meet the 27-year-old mayor behind it

Mayor Michael Tubbs, from Stockton, California, announced last October the launch of a basic income experiment in his home city.

The 27-year-old mayor wants to show Stockton can become a cutting-edge city as it recovers from its 2012 bankruptcy.

Tubbs first learned about basic income in college, reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he hopes the Stockton experiment will lay the foundation for future US studies.

Spoiler:
Stockton, California made national news last October when it announced it would host the first US experiment in basic income, a system of wealth distribution in which people receive a standard salary just for being alive.

The plan, spearheaded by Stockton's 27-year-old mayor, Michael Tubbs, will likely begin sometime in August 2018 and involve at least 100 people of varying income levels getting $500 a month for three years.

Ever since it declared bankruptcy in 2012, Stockton has been in recovery-mode, and Tubbs sees basic income — a growing topic of discussion around the world over the past couple years — as one way to rehabilitate the city.

In a basic income system, participants get a fixed amount of money that they can use however they want. Early research has shown that people in basic income experiments typically don't spend this money on vices or vacations; instead, they use it to pay for things like home repairs, school expenses, and the costs of starting new businesses.

Stockton becomes a symbol for the rest of America
Tubbs, a Stanford alum who first discovered basic income reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in college, believes rising costs for housing and education, combined with stagnant wages, have warranted a new approach to social welfare. He was elected in November 2016, with economic development as one of his major goals.

Unlike many players in the basic income discussion, he doesn't believe the idea is radical as much as plainly progressive.

"I can see the radicalness, but I'm trying to solve the questions that every community has," Tubbs told Business Insider.

Stockton, California
Stockton, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty
Tubbs believes that Stockton is really a microcosm of the rest of the US. Low-income people haven't gotten a fair shake economically, and upward mobility has been difficult at best, he said. Mean incomes are well below California's average, and unemployment is double the national rate. Healthcare and retail are the city's two biggest industries.

"In our economic structure, the people who work the hardest oftentimes make the least," Tubbs said. "I know migrant farm workers who do back-breaking labor every day, or Uber drivers and Lyft drivers who drive 10 to 12 hours a day in traffic. You can't be lazy doing that kind of work."

The upcoming basic income experiment could give people more opportunity to find fulfillment, Tubbs said.

Stockton has partnered with the Economic Security Project (ESP), a basic income advocacy group headed up by Facebook cofounder Chris Hughes and others, to launch the trial, which is being called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED). ESP has given the city $1 million to fund the trial.

The mayor has high hopes for his city
The specific design of the experiment is still unclear. Tubb hopes it will be simultaneously broad and targeted, so it will reach people in need — but not exclusively. He said he still wants middle and upper-middle class residents to get the benefit.

No matter who gets selected, Tubbs said he trusts that participants' lives will improve.

stockton california
Stockton was the first city in the country to declare bankruptcy in 2012. Inman News / Flickr

Having grown up in poverty, moved through the system, and now achieved professional success, Tubbs said the perspective has given him a nuanced view of how people with low incomes think and behave.

He said he hopes a basic income experiment can help overturn negative assumptions about the ambitions and capabilities of people in poverty.

"For whatever reason, in this country we have a very interesting relationship with poverty, where we think people in poverty are bad people," he said. "In the next couple years, we'll see a larger national conversation."

Basic income is just part of the solution
Tubbs wants to approach his city's economic troubles from several directions — basic income is just one solution. Recently, his office received an anonymous $20 million donation, which Tubbs has directed toward a program called Stockton Scholars. The program awards a total of $4,000 in aid to four-year college students in the Stockton Unified School District and $1,000 to 2-year students.

The program will make higher education tuition-free for "the vast majority" of Stockton students who attend college in the California State University system, according to the mayor's office. Over the next five years, Tubbs is pushing the city to help raise a total of $100 million for Stockton Scholars.

"We want to triple the number of Stockton students who are ready, willing, and able to go to college," he said. "It's really about changing the narrative of this city. This, in tandem with basic income, really shows Stockton is on the cutting-edge of public policy with a real focus on human capital."
That's the positive spin article.

Here is some negative commentary:
http://reason.com/archives/2018/02/0...n-diverts-city

Quote:
Stockton’s 'Basic Income' Plan Diverts City From Its Real Duties
The city wants to spend a grant it got giving residents $500 a month for two years.
Spoiler:
There's a simple solution to the nation's poverty and inequality problems, an acquaintance told me several years ago. He suggested that the federal government simply give $1 million to every citizen and, voila, we'd all be rich and happy. After some quick math (323 million x $1 million = more trillions than even the U.S. Treasury can print), he realized that he didn't add enough zeroes to his cost calculation. Turning the United States into Zimbabwe, where a $1 trillion note won't even buy a soda, isn't much of an idea.

But while the above thought experiment is zany, a number of politicians and economists are proposing a similar idea—but on a much more modest scale. In fact, one of California's most impoverished cities, Stockton, is working on a proposal that would provide a "Universal Basic Income" to a small number of residents. Instead of a million bucks, the city—thanks to a grant from some Bay Area tech entrepreneurs—wants to hand out $500 a month for two years without any limits on how it's spent.

It's not as controversial as Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs' proposal last summer "that pays people not to commit crimes," as KCRA reported. But now Tubbs is back with this latest "let's just pay people" plan. The income idea is backed by a group that believes "cash is an effective way" to rebuild the American middle class. It's a pilot project that will help evaluate how this type of program works.

Tubbs makes some good points about the poor way in which his city traditionally has been trying to boost middle-class jobs and incomes. "We've overspent on things like arenas and marinas and things of that sort to try to lure in tourism and dollars that way," he told KQED News. But bad ideas shouldn't be replaced with worse ones.

I own a bungalow in Stockton and know the city well. Indeed, Stockton officials have been models for doing things the wrong way. Over the years, they've dumped redevelopment subsidies in fancy downtown projects, which remain surrounded by run-down neighborhoods and blocks of largely vacant buildings. The city also spent lavishly on compensation for city workers, which helped drive it into bankruptcy.

In general, the universal income concept is designed to replace current assistance programs. It's been touted by leftists, but even free-market economist Milton Friedman supported the concept as a means to reduce bureaucracy and end the "welfare trap." Current programs phase out as people get jobs, and the goal is to incentivize work. You can receive your payment and still work.

But analysts are downplaying crucial points. For starters, there's little chance direct payments would replace existing programs. It's like other ideas that might appeal to some people on a philosophical level. Some libertarians like a mileage-based road tax rather than the gasoline tax because it would charge people based on how much they use the freeway system. The political reality is we'd end up with a mileage tax and the gas tax.

Government does not often shutter its bureaucracies. The same holds true for these universal income proposals. Furthermore, it's foolhardy for individual cities to embrace these programs, especially since it eventually will involve oodles of public funds. Stockton's budget is crumbling under the weight of misguided past financial decisions. It can't even provide a decent level of public services as is—let alone after it starts handing out payments to people. And incentives matter. If the city subsidizes its residents, then Stockton will become a magnet for people who most want such subsidies.

Realistically, 500 bucks a month isn't much to live on anywhere in California. If this idea takes hold, it will be followed by demands to increase the payments. I can envision the "Living Wage Coalition" that would rise up to demand more money from City Hall, the legislature or Congress. It's dangerous to make larger swaths of people dependent on the political process to secure their living. This already is the case to some degree, but this idea will make it far worse.

But my biggest fear is what it will do to the already eroded concept of work. Many people prefer to do nothing if someone else will pay their bills. "A UBI would redefine the relationship between individuals, families, communities, and the state by giving government the role of provider," wrote Oren Cass in a National Review article last year. "It would make work optional and render self-reliance moot." It's one thing to provide a safety net and another to reward sloth.

Stockton should focus on the basics. If officials keep their budget in order, rein in compensation packages for city employees and provide first-rate services and a friendly business climate, it could lure the jobs that are the key to a middle-class lifestyle. Giving away "free" money—whether it's a million bucks or 500—is a terrible idea.

This column first appeared in the Orange County Register.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #505  
Old 02-05-2018, 05:54 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

PENNSYLVANIA

http://www.phillytrib.com/concern-mo...45dc95913.html

Quote:
Concern mounts over weak status of state finances
Spoiler:
Weakened financial stability and growing deficits erode the essential services that government provides to people and Pennsylvania is mired in many years of financial mismanagement by the state legislature, according to state Sen. Art Haywood (D-4).

Haywood counted among other Philadelphia-area lawmakers to weigh-in on a January report that revealed Pennsylvania’s tendency in recent years to cover deficits through borrowing has led to a failure to build up a rainy-day fund.

A recent study noted the state is in danger of not being able to weather a future recession.

“We are mired in many years of financial mismanagement by the state legislature. The state’s finances have declined to the point where $1.5 billion was borrowed to meet its current expenses,” Haywood said.

Further, the state’s poor credit rating has led to Pennsylvanians paying over $100 million more in interest and its credit rating has been negatively impacted, he said.

“An unpredictable, unstable financial situation with recurring deficits stops us from making investments to create a skilled workforce and attract businesses and jobs to Pennsylvania,” Haywood said. “Finding solutions to close Pennsylvania’s deficit gap should be the priority of every lawmaker representing the people of Pennsylvania. I know that it is certainly a priority of mine.”

A study by Moody’s Analytics stress-tested all 50 states to determine if their reserve funds were adequate to get through a moderate recession without severe fiscal pain.

The website watchdog.org reported that Pennsylvania’s reserve fund in 2017 was equivalent to negative 1.8 percent of revenues, and the analysis found the state needs at least 6.9 percent to weather a moderate recession.

“The Moody’s recent report mirrors our repeated calls for sustainable recurring revenues to ensure the fiscal health of the Commonwealth,” said state Sen. Sharif Street (D-3).

“Moreover, we should be proactive in pursuing policy initiatives that address these issues. The expanded revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana is one avenue and reforms such as reducing the prison population and curtailing the excessive spending required to maintain the prison industrial complex are both morally and fiscally sound,” he told The Tribune.

Commonwealth citizens are the state’s most important resource and, as such, investing in education will help to attract companies like Amazon that are tech focused and poised to grow the economy, Street added.

“This is a sign that we must be bold and progressive in addressing our fiscal challenges and conservative in our revenue projections,” he said.

Pennsylvania’s money and government problems have damaged its reputation among residents, Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of Truth in Accounting, wrote in an editorial.

Weinberg, whose Chicago-based nonprofit researches government financial data and promotes transparency, said state lawmakers bought a short-term fiscal fix with the October budget compromise.

“Even with the recent pension reform, however, I am still concerned that the frequency and seriousness of these financial trends will continue to increase,” she said.

State Rep. Chris Rabb (D-200) recently hosted his first House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on bold budget innovations for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians.

Rabb expressed his concern about state finances.

“We’re looking for innovative budget proposals that can help us improve economic security for all, better leverage taxpayer dollars for environmental stewardship, and ease the burdens on Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system,” he said

Both Haywood and Street noted the recent federal government shutdown only further served to erode confidence.

“The seemingly endless partisan bickering which has caused the breakdown at the federal level is unhealthy for our democracy and must end,” Haywood said.

“The practical side of the shutdown is that non-essential services are suspended, national parks are impacted, federal workers lives are disrupted and military pay put in jeopardy. No business can operate in this manner and no government should either,” he said.

Street said the shutdown was a direct result of President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress’s short-sighted policies that have limited the ability to solve real problems.

“The Republicans, appalling in their willingness to withhold vital funding for 9 million kids under the bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program and failure in dealing with immigration reform underscores their inability to effectively govern,” Street said.

“The most important role of government is the protection of the people; it should never be partisan. The president of the United States and Congress are charged with meeting this standard and must get back to making government work,” he said.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #506  
Old 02-06-2018, 09:56 AM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

REVENUE SOURCES

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-are...ers-1517913001

Quote:
How Are Cities Paying Their Bills? With Fees on Trash, Parking, Sewers and 911 Calls
From Chicago to Danville, Ill., why residents are paying higher fees for mundane services

Spoiler:
Scranton, Pa. is turning to an unlikely source for fiscal strength: garbage.

The distressed city in northeastern Pennsylvania began charging residents a $300 annual fee in 2014 to collect their trash, up from $178. That 68% increase has since raised millions for Scranton, one of the many steps being taken to restore the former coal-mining hub to solid financial footing after decades of decline.

Cash-strapped American cities are increasingly asking their residents to pay higher amounts for mundane services as they struggle to pay for mounting pension obligations, cover costly infrastructure improvements and replace revenue depleted by the last recession. Bills are rising for everything from parking tickets and 911 calls to sewer service and trash pickup.

In 73 U.S. cities, fees and fines increased by a collective $182 million in 2017, according to financial reports analyzed by Merritt Research Services. That annual tally is up 11% since the last financial crisis in 2008.

Climbing
Revenue from fines and fees rose an averageof 2% per year from 2000 to 2015.
Average fee revenues per city
Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Note: Dataset includes 150 major cities
.million
2000
’05
’10
’15
300
325
350
375
400
425
450
$475
Fees are expected to go even higher because of recent changes at the state and federal levels. New tax legislation passed last year by Congress caps the amount of local property and income taxes Americans can deduct from their federal tax bills, making local tax increases more costly for residents and thus politically difficult for elected officials.

Thirty four states have also placed separate limits on local government tax or spending increases, according to the National League of Cities. In California, tax increases by local governments must be approved by a vote of residents.

“What’s left? Basically what’s left are charges,” said Andrew Reschovsky, a professor emeritus of public affairs and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I think the future probably holds more fee increases.”

Cities began turning to more fees and fines following the 2008 financial crisis, which eroded property and sales tax revenues due to pullbacks in housing values, employment and consumer spending. Revenue from property taxes, sales taxes and income taxes moved higher in recent years as the economy rebounded but the total collected from those categories in 2017 was still below 2008 levels, according to data from the National League of Cities.

Widespread Growth
Percentage of city chief financial officersreporting increases in fee levels and tax rates
Source: National League of Cities' City FiscalConditions report
%
Fee and fine levels
Property tax rates
Sales tax rates
2008
’10
’12
’14
’16
0
10
20
30
40
50
Revenue from fees, on the other hand, was 14% higher in 2015 than in 2009, according to a study of 150 cities conducted by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. In 2017, 42% of city CFOs said their towns had raised fees, more than the 27% who said they had raised property tax rates and 8% who reported sales tax increases.

In California, more than a dozen city fire departments are now charging hundreds of dollars for ambulance calls and more for ambulance rides. Long Beach, Calif. began imposing a $250 fee for service calls in 2016 on top of the existing $1,300 to $1,900 for a ride. The ambulance call fee brought in $1.6 million that year and $2.2 million in 2017, the finance director said.

One small Midwestern town, Danville, Ill., is raising its fees for a specific purpose: to chip away at more than $100 million in liabilities owed to police and fire department retirees. The city of about 30,000 first attached a $2 a month “public safety pension fee” to residents’ sewer bills in 2014 and in December pushed that charge to $22.25 for those in single-family homes.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said the city took this step because it no longer had enough to make its required pension payments without devoting less to firefighting, police, parks, street repairs and code enforcement. “That’s what we could no longer afford to do—diminish our services because the pension obligation had increased so dramatically,” he added.

Those who pay the higher fees aren’t always pleased with the new demands. In Scranton, a property owner filed lawsuits over the $300 trash-collection fee and a fee for landlords, arguing the fees were higher than needed to pay for the services. The plaintiff alleges that Scranton has collected roughly $5 million more in garbage fees the past two years than it needs to run its Bureau of Refuse.

Scranton Mayor William Courtright said the fees are meant to cover the cost of collecting trash and supervising rental properties, not to generate revenue for other purposes. “Public safety and sanitation are the two most expensive endeavors of municipal government,” he said in an email.

In Chicago, a city also struggling with massive pension liabilities as well as a mountain of bond debt, officials increased penalties for parking in a disabled zone and other violations between 2012 and 2014 and increased the fee for removing a car boot in 2016. The city also increased property and water-sewer taxes as part of a larger plan to improve its finances.

A city spokeswoman said Chicago reduced its “structural budget gap” by 66% in the last four years “without raising a single parking ticket fine amount.” She added: “While revenue is an outcome of parking enforcement, it is not the driver of our enforcement actions.”

Some public policy experts say the Chicago increases are causing hardship for certain residents. One resident, Vincent Heard, said in court documents he had accumulated about $11,000 in debt tied to parking tickets, speeding tickets and red-light violations when he filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy in September 2015.

Mr. Heard now makes monthly payments of $225 as part of his bankruptcy repayment plan. That, he said, is a challenge given his earnings of about $600 to $700 a week as a taxi driver.

“It’s like I’m just working to pay tickets,” Mr. Heard said.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #507  
Old 02-08-2018, 09:07 AM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

VIRGIN ISLANDS

https://stcroixsource.com/2018/02/08...tructure-debt/

Quote:
Moody’s Says It’s ‘Highly Likely’ V.I. Will Have to Restructure Debt

Spoiler:
The credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services downgraded all V.I. government debt yet again Jan. 31, saying the territory is “highly likely” to be unable to make debt payments without restructuring. Moody’s also said the territory’s pension system may collapse “much sooner” than 2023.

The unwelcome news comes as Gov. Kenneth Mapp’s administration continues to work on persuading the federal government to extend federal disaster assistance loans to help it bridge a massive budget deficit made much worse by last year’s hurricanes.

Moody’s cites the territory’s ongoing fiscal crisis, saying the recent hurricanes have worsened the problem.

V.I. officials have told the Legislature the territory has a roughly $450 million deficit this year, up from the pre-hurricane annual $170 million structural deficit out of a locally funded budget of around $850 million. With $65 million in revenue assistance in the form of a federal disaster assistance loan, the V.I. Government should be around $385 million in the hole this year, although the actual number fluctuates as revenues and expenses fluctuate.

Advertising (skip)






Graph of primary revenue sources, historical data from 2004-2017 and projected revenues for 2018 to 2020. (Data compiled by Bill Kossler from historical V.I. budgetary data and data presented by Budget Director Nellon Bowry at the Dec. 5, 2017 V.I. Legislature Finance Committee hearing)
Graph of primary revenue sources, historical data from 2004-2017 and projected revenues for 2018 to 2020. (Data compiled by Bill Kossler from historical V.I. budgetary data and data presented by Budget Director Nellon Bowry at the Dec. 5, 2017 V.I. Legislature Finance Committee hearing)

“While assistance from the federal government in response to the hurricanes has provided some near-term relief, we believe the severity of the territory’s fundamental fiscal and cash challenges, combined with the pending insolvency of the territory’s government employees’ retirement system, make a debt restructuring highly likely,” Moody’s analysts said in announcing the downgrade.

The territory has about $2 billion in outstanding debt, divided between bonds secured by territorial gross receipts taxes and “matching fund” federal alcohol excise taxes remitted to the territory.

A year ago, Moody’s adjusted USVI senior lien bonds down three full notches from the “speculative” junk rating of B1 to Caa1, which the agency terms “bonds of poor standing.” The Jan. 31 downgrade takes them down two more notches to Caa3. Moody’s has only two lower ratings: Ca, which it terms “highly speculative, or near default” and C- “bonds typically in default, little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.”

The rum industry has quickly recovered from the storms and federal excise tax revenues are projected to remain at similar levels as in recent years. But Moody’s downgraded that debt too, with senior lien debt going down to Caa2 and the rest to Caa3. Moody’s analysts say that is because if the territory has to restructure any of its debt, “matching fund bonds will inevitably be included in any debt restructuring.”

The one notch distinction between the types of matching fund debt is due to a statutory lien the government placed on revenues in 2016. The V.I. government puts local gross receipts tax revenues under the power of a special, bank-appointed trustee and federal excise tax revenues go directly to the trustee, to pay off interest and principal on V.I. bonds, before any remaining funds will go to the territory’s coffers.

The V.I. government still collects Gross Receipts taxes, so it would still have to actively deposit the funds with the trustee. The federal excise taxes are hypothetically out of the V.I. government’s hands, making them more secure for creditors. But Moody’s analysts are concerned that system is “unlikely to survive a restructuring” and “has not been tested in a stress situation in which the government attempts to divert pledged revenue for general government purposes.”

Moody’s also points to the impending collapse of the government’s pension system.

“System assets were projected to be depleted by 2023, but this will likely happen much sooner because, among other factors, the government has been deferring its statutorily-required contributions,” Moody’s analysts said.

Past-due contributions since September’s storms amount to $40 million, Finance Commissioner Valdamier Collens told senators Tuesday. That amount would be larger but the government has received $65 million in federal disaster loans dedicated to revenue assistance and put $8 million toward the pension plan.

For a sense of the scale of the shortfall, the V.I. pension system took in about $85.38 million in contributions in 2015 and paid somewhat more than $200 million in pension checks, liquidating close to $115 million from its trust fund for current expenses. The storms were four months ago. If the government only contributes $8 million this year, it will have to liquidate $185 million from the trust fund – double the past rate of loss. The entire trust fund is currently valued at less than $600 million, including difficult to sell assets such as the Carambola resort on St. Croix.

(See “The V.I. Budget Crisis, Part 3: The GERS Time Bomb,” in Related Links below.)

Moody’s also put the territory’s debt on a negative watch, meaning it projects it may downgrade further in the near future.

Other outside analysts have made similar projections that the territory may soon be forced to restructure its debt.

In November, Greg Clark, Debtwire’s head of municipal research, told the Source “a default would be difficult to avoid absent any drastic change in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ outlook.”

Clark said if there is a default, he thinks “it is much more probable, in the neighborhood of 80 percent, that the federal government will set up a mechanism similar to Puerto Rico.”

Normally, a bond downgrade increases the cost of borrowing. Because the private market already declined to lend to the territory in January 2017, this downgrade does not directly change the territory’s position.

The federal government has lent the territory $85 million for budgetary assistance, with $65 million for the central government’s budget. But it has balked at lending more without being placed ahead of the territory’s other borrowers. Tuesday, Collens told senators the V.I. Government failed an additional-bonds test in December that would have allowed the issuance of new gross receipts tax bonds to secure its FEMA loan. If the territory can give the federal government first-lien priority, it might be able to get between $100 million and $200 million, Collens said.
__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #508  
Old 02-08-2018, 09:50 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

https://www.presstelegram.com/2018/0...y-their-bills/

Quote:
Many big cities don’t have enough money to pay their bills

Spoiler:
An analysis of the fiscal health of the 75 most populated cities in the country found that the vast majority don’t have enough money to pay for their bills, including many in California.

A new report by transparency group Truth in Accounting found that 64 of the 75 cities owed more than they can cover at the end of fiscal year 2016, mostly due to pension and other post-employment benefits.

The 75 cities had combined unfunded debts of $335.4 billion, $210.7 billion of which was pension debt.

Irvine in Orange County was actually listed as the top sunshine city in the country, with the city’s taxpayer surplus amounting to $5,200 per taxpayer.

“Unlike most cities, Irvine’s elected officials have only promised the amount of benefits they can afford to pay,” the report concluded.

Many other California cities on the list haven’t been so fortunate. San Francisco’s taxpayer burden of $27,500 per taxpayer was among the largest in the country and was so steep that it makes Los Angeles’ $7,200 deficit per taxpayer look responsible
Anaheim, noted to have $1.1 billion in assets against bills of $1.7 billion, was found to have a $5,300 deficit per taxpayer by the end of fiscal year 2016. Santa Ana, with $301.6 million in assets against bills of $664.2 million, had a $3,400 deficit per taxpayer.

Riverside’s mismatch, with $818.9 million in assets against $1.1 billion in bills, amounted to a $2,600 burden per taxpayer. Finally, Long Beach, with $2.7 billion available in assets to cover $2.9 billion in bills, had a per taxpayer deficit of $1,500.

It is evident that cities across the country are faced with the common problem of promising more than can be covered, especially with respect to pensions.


Unfortunately, the same problem is true of state government. Last year, Truth in Accounting found that California’s debts and unfunded obligations translate to a $21,600 deficit per taxpayer. Taken together with city governments, California taxpayers are being saddled with massive debts and unfunded obligations.

It is no wonder politicians and special interest groups are always campaigning for tax hikes. Now taxpayers just need to wise up to what appeals for tax hikes are really all about.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #509  
Old 02-13-2018, 06:38 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/...after-14-years

Quote:
Pennsylvania ends financial oversight of Pittsburgh after 14 years
Spoiler:
For the first time in 14 years, Pittsburgh is in control of its own finances.

Pennsylvania Secretary of Community and Economic Development Dennis Davin and Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday announced Pittsburgh's release from state financial oversight, officially ending the city's "financially distressed" status.

Davin, who formerly served as Allegheny County's economic development director, said Pittsburgh is in control.

"It's my privilege to inform Gov. Wolf, Mayor Peduto and the citizens of Pittsburgh that this is recision day," Davin announced in a room packed with state and local officials and reporters. "I'm prepared to sign the order releasing the city from Act 47."

Davin's department administers the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act, known as Act 47, which Pittsburgh has operated under since 2004.

Mayor Bill Peduto, one of the few elected officials remaining from when Pittsburgh entered Act 47, said few thought the city could recover from deficits totaling $100 million, debt service payments that consumed 20 percent of annual operating budgets and unfunded employee pension plans.

"We stand here today with a completely different view of the city and it's because of the teamwork of the people that are in this room and the people that are in our neighborhoods that believed and never gave up on this city," Peduto said.

"Pittsburgh is back. The best days of this city are still in front of us."

The announcement had been expected since early this year when Act 47 coordinators and the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority – Pittsburgh's second oversight team – agreed the city had met all obligations to leave state supervision. Both recommended Pittsburgh's release from oversight.

ICA officials are seeking legislative approval to disband.

"To all of you, and mainly — most importantly — the citizens of Pittsburgh, congratulations on this great achievement," Wolf said. "The Pittsburgh of today is remarkably different than the Pittsburgh of 2004. You have brought tech enterprises and global companies to the streets of Pittsburgh. You transformed a rust belt city... that was a symbol of economic decline into one of the most dynamic examples of innovation in the new economy in the world."

Since Act 47 took effect in 1987, 13 Pennsylvania cities have emerged from "financially distressed" status. The most recent was Altoona in September after five years under state oversight. Former Gov. Ed Rendell declared Pittsburgh's distressed status in December 2003.



As a city councilman in 2004, Peduto voted in favor of the city's first recovery plan, which narrowly passed 5-4. No one from that 2004 council is still on the nine-member body, meaning every current member has served their entire tenures under Act 47's constraints.

Peduto said Pittsburgh no longer has to contend with such limitations. The end of Act 47 also marks the end of employee salary and benefit caps of 2 percent to 3 percent. Employee contracts expire in December.

Peduto promised that employees "who have taken a hit" since 2004 would be compensated, but only within the city's financial means. He said residents would see improvements in streets, parks and playgrounds.

"Now better days are upon us and I look forward to working with not only those who wear the uniforms but all of our employees in making sure that their rewards are there as well," the mayor said. "We're going to be focusing on our roads, on our buildings, on our parks on our playgrounds, on all the different infrastructure that unfortunately for the past 30 years has been left to crumble."

He said the city would hire more police officers for a total compliment of 950 to cut down on overtime and provide more daily patrols and do "minimal hiring" in other departments.

Police and firefighters unions have complained for years about pay constraints.

"The FOP is glad that the city has finally been released from Act 47 and we look forward to working with the city in our future contract negotiations," said Robert Swartzwelder, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1.

Gordon Mann of PFM Group Consulting in Philadelphia, one of the Act 47 coordinators, said the city must live within its means to avoid future oversight.

"You need to make sure that the things that you buy are things you can pay for today," he said. "Then we hope that the spirit of cooperation that we heard today, all those sort of era of good feelings, continues because five months from now the mayor is going to be sitting with public sector unions and they're going to be negotiating."


[img][/img]
__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
  #510  
Old 02-13-2018, 06:39 PM
campbell's Avatar
campbell campbell is offline
Mary Pat Campbell
SOA AAA
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 80,703
Blog Entries: 6
Default

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

https://www.watchdog.org/pennsylvani...6a02c261c.html

Quote:
Philadelphia ranks near bottom of most populous U.S. cities for financial health
Spoiler:
An analysis released in January found Philadelphia’s financial health to be third from last among the 75 most populous cities in the U.S.

The city ranked No. 73 in Truth in Accounting’s Financial State of the Cities 2018 report, which applied to the city’s 2016 financial report filings. Philadelphia topped only Chicago and New York City on the list.

The study gave Philadelphia a financial grade of “F,” because the city’s taxpayers would each need to contribute more than $20,000 to pay all of the city’s bills. In total, the study said the “Taxpayer Burden” for the city was $30,200 for every taxpayer, judging by the city’s debt burden. Philadelphia’s debt burden was listed at $16.2 billion by the study.


Bob Dick, senior policy analyst at Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation, said taxes in Philadelphia are especially burdensome for lower-income families.

“It is especially high for a family with an income of just $25,000, which is really burdensome considering that in many cases you have families who are just trying to scrape to get by,” Dick said.

Additionally, the study said Philadelphia’s problems are “driven by long-term debt and runaway entitlement obligations in two categories: pensions and retiree health care benefits.”

Philadelphia has $10.3 billion in unfunded pension promises to go along with $2.4 billion in unfunded retiree health care benefits, the report said. Philadelphia trailed only New York City and Chicago for worst in the nation.

Bill Bergman, research director for Truth in Accounting, said the federal government also is facing problems similar to Philadelphia.


“These issues are not isolated with state and local governments,” Bergman said. “The federal government is also afflicted by problems like this and what future taxpayers and citizens are facing at the federal level is even bigger than what they are facing at the state and local level.”

Truth in Accounting’s analysis also said Philadelphia has just $3.9 billion in assets available to pay $20.1 billion worth of bills. The city’s total assets are valued at about $15.5 billion, but capital and restricted assets are subtracted to get the study’s figure of $3.9 billion.

The study’s methodology said it excludes capital assets such as land, buildings, and infrastructure “because these should not be sold to pay bills.”

The study said the largest total for city bills comes in the form of the nearly $10.3 billion unfunded pension benefits. Bonds ($8.3 billion), other liabilities ($6.7 billion) and unfunded retiree health care ($2.4 billion) round out the cities $20.1 billion bill total. Debt related to capital assets (valued at $7.6 billion) was not included in the bill total.

A Philadelphia native, Dick said the city has potential to improve, if the change comes from entrepreneurs and people in the private sector.


“I want to be hopeful, I really do,” Dick said. “Philadelphia does have the infrastructure, does have the people, does have the institutions, to be a really great city, but it is just a matter of policy makers and special interests getting out of the way.

“If lawmakers, policy makers are focusing on something that is really going to improve the city, it is not going to be this big government program where government officials are taking the lead," he said. "It is going to be, again, getting out of the way of the people who can most effectively turn the city around and that is entrepreneurs and other working people in the private sector.”

Dick cited a few potential solutions for the city, including reducing the city’s tax burden.

“Reducing the overall tax burden in the city is important for job growth and wage growth as well as for increasing the population. Also, the school choice is a big issue as well.”

Bergmann said Truth in Accounting does not generally issue policy prescriptions, but encourages cities to adopt accrual-based budgeting going forward, doing best to accurately account for balanced budgets.


Philadelphia ranks as the fifth largest city in the U.S., with a total population of slightly more than 1.57 million people, according to Politifact. The city has gained population in the 2010 Census and 2016 Census estimate. Despite the recent growth, Philadelphia once had a population of 2.07 million in the 1950 Census, the last Census in which the city would show a population gain until 2010.

Further Census data for Philadelphia said the city’s median household income was $39,770 from 2012-2016, in 2016 dollars. Per-capita income in the city was $23,696. The city’s percent of peple in poverty was 25.3 percent, the data said.

When reached for comment, a spokesman with the Philadelphia mayor’s office said the city’s Finance department would have to decline immediate comment due to the finalizing of the city’s budget.


__________________
It's STUMP

LinkedIn Profile
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:18 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
*PLEASE NOTE: Posts are not checked for accuracy, and do not
represent the views of the Actuarial Outpost or its sponsors.
Page generated in 0.21650 seconds with 11 queries