Not long ago, it was rare, almost unthinkable, for cities and school districts to declare bankruptcy. Even when they did it wasn’t a panacea. Sure debt was restructured, creditors were put at bay for a while. But towns didn’t get to wipe the ledger clean and start afresh just by declaring bankruptcy.
Then came Detroit. After the city declared bankruptcy in 2013, the court eliminated $7 billion Detroit’s debt in one fell swoop. The city was authorized to borrow a fresh $1.4 billion to invest in city services. Pensioners made out pretty well. And there are now credible reasons to think the city is recovering, at least a little.
Sure would be dreamy if the School District of Philadelphia could do the same, right? Whoosh, $1.45 billion in debt payments over the next five years wiped away just like that. There’d be an extra $276 million this year alone. As Larry Platt at the Philadelphia Citizen writes, that’s enough to “hire roughly 1,000 more teachers and provide each student with an iPad.” Read more »
The mayor has some advice for would-be successors. | City Council Flickr
Mayor Nutter made his final address at the Chamber of Commerce annual luncheon yesterday, taking the dais just as the Jim Kenney goodbye party was winding down in City Council. The chamber address is always a big speech, the mayor’s best chance to enlist the business community’s support for his agenda. Nutter, for instance, made selling PGW a feature of his past two chamber addresses (funny how it didn’t come up yesterday).
The speech served a somewhat different purpose this time. A lot of it was given over to legacy-fluffing and victory-lapping, as you’d expect from a mayor serving out his final year in office. But Nutter, who took the stage to the strains of “Run This Town” by Jay-Z and Rihanna, also (gently) threw down the gauntlet for his would-be successors. From his prepared remarks: Read more »
James Kenney | City Council Flickr
Starting at 9:30, follow along as the Citified team live-tweets Jim Kenney’s last City Council meeting. Read more »
Yesterday in City Council, some of the leading advocates of lower wage and business taxes showed up at a hearing for Councilman David Oh’s quixotic (and politically doomed) bid to lower the wage tax from 3.92 percent to 2.09 percent by 2025. Read more »
No bottle shop, no thanks. | Shutterstock.com
Millennials have been hailed ad nauseam as the saviors of urban America, and there’s no debating that they’ve helped rejuvenate Philadelphia. There are nearly 75,000 more 20-34 year-olds in the city in 2013 than there were in just 2007, a boom more than big enough to offset declines in other population groups. Read more »
On the way where? Photo Credit: City Council Flickr page.
The imminent entry of Jim Kenney into the mayoral race will upend the contest. Read more »
Councilman Jim Kenney decides it’s a good time to tell the people of Philadelphia about his diet.
Jim Kenney seems sure to dominate the mayoral news again today. Ditto for Thursday, when he will no doubt make a memorable final speech from the floor of City Council before resigning from the job he’s held for 23 years. Expect tears. Expect rough eloquence. Expect an abundance of highly quotable moments.
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Americans love their cars. We all know that. About 86 percent of U.S. residents commute to work by car or truck, and most of them are driving alone. A new visualization at the always-interesting FlowingData.com really drives that home. There’s hardly a corner of the country where other commute modes–transit, walking, biking–beat out driving, by oneself, in a car. Read more »
Philadelphia’s primary election will be held on May 19. But today is the Snow Primary: a solid chance for the city’s mayoral candidates and mayoral-maybes to show a little mayoral mettle on the cold, mean streets, and to shoot some solid B-roll of the candidate shoveling sidewalks or comforting the disadvantaged. Read more »