Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Don't watch that policy, listen to this scandal ...

I swear to god that the Ravenstahl administration is keeping little mini-non-scandals in its back pocket, to overshadow DeSantis' announcements, like Desantis’ proposed fiscal policy from yesterday. I guess the Ravenstahl campaign/administration figures to make the Mayor's immaturity work for him. "There he goes again, isn't it cute?" Another scandal for the Burghospree to tut-tut over.

I guess only Rich Lord could tell us how he found out, but he reports today on the Mayor’s use of a police Yukon paid for with Homeland Security money to go to a Toby Keith concert and for other "personal use". Seems like the other "personal use" could be interesting, but we only find out about the concert, which we already knew the Mayor had attended. The police sergeant who complained apparently isn’t talking, so the report must of come from someone else, and our public safety department, in rare reversal of policy, confirmed the story sufficiently that Mr Lord could report on it. What was it that Danny DeVito said in the second Batman? “Played this city like a harp from hell”?

In other news, Chris Schultz informs us that what I will call the first official PDF of the whole … Frackin’ campaign is available: http://www.post-gazette.com/downloads/20071002_desantis_plan.pdf. It is a PDF version of the DeSantis press release on fiscal policy. I can’t say whether it was produced by the DeSantis campaign or the PG, but I suspect it was the later. Enjoy the download, take it with you on your laptop or pda, trade ‘em with your friends …

3 comments:

Matt H said...

Any thoughts on the fiscal plan?

EdHeath said...

Well, I sort of said some of what I think in my last post. And I should say I have not sat down and read it closely, I have been spending my free time on those unforgivable activities like trolling the internet looking for opinions to comment on, watching TV, washing dishes, eating, sleeping ...

I will try and sit down and read the thing tonight. I kind of think I need the Mayor’s budget as well to compare with (three hundred pages?), and I don’t have that.

I still don’t think the plan would go into place as it’s written. I think city council would force some changes, but I don’t what they would be. I do think that this plan would be welcomed in the state legislature. They will almost certainly have to bail out our pension plans, so seeing us implement an austerity budget would at least give some republican legislators cover with their constituents.

The thing is, after Murphy left office, we started drifting away from the spirit of the Act 47 plan. That's not a shot at Bob O'COnnor, I think people just associated financial distress with Tom Murphy. Now, maybe the Act 47 plan was designed to fail, to do nothing about our long term debt or pension problems. Now we have a choice to turn a blind eye towards the long term problems or to at least start to do something about them.

I sort of think that Mark DeSantis might be big on symbolic gestures. Reducing wage, property and payroll preparation taxes by 3% in years 4 and 5 … I assume he is not eliminating the 3% city wage tax (2% school and 1% city, although that might have changed). So, in two years I can look forward to a wage tax of either 2.91% or 2% plus .97% (point nine seven percent). Either way, we are talking about a small amount of extra money in my pay check.

I think this plan will be hard on you city workers. Just like Act 47 promised. I think new hires might well do a little better in the long run. If they offer it to current hires, Matt, I would think hard about switching to a 401K, especially if it is a TIAA/CREF plan (if one is available).

Matt H said...

I wish the Mayor's budget was available online in a PDF format. I would love to go through it page by page.

Our pension at the HACP is run by Fidelity. I am very aggressive with my funds. I have just about all of it going towards the international market.

My money goes to the following:


FID DIVERSIFIED INTL 67.16% goes in this one
NAV $43.29

FID SMALL CAP STOCK 14.68%
NAV $20.17

FIDELITY US BD INDEX 9.19%
NAV $10.82

ABF LARGE CAP VAL PA 8.97%
NAV $24.89

I don't know how much longer I am going to make it at HACP. I am actually out on leave right now.