Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Federal Taxpayers Foot Bill City Land Near Casino?

Right. The federal government which doesn't have a dime of its own money and must print Treasury bills and borrow from foreign governments is going to be asked to support a land development project supposed to stimulate the local economy?

Carry on peasants, nothing to complain about that theft of our future...

Net the Truth Online

Philly on U.S. pork roll? by Jeff Shields

The city didn't want to miss any federal funding opportunities that the Obama administration might offer.

So with old plans for the redevelopment of Market Street East to be combined with a new plan for Foxwoods Casino at the Gallery, the city listed $100 million in federal aid for redevelopment of Market East on its wish list of funding priorities for President-elect Barack Obama's Main Street stimulus package.

In recent weeks, that request became a national symbol of pork for congressional Republicans. They complained about Philly's request for $100 million for "land to develop a casino," lumping it in with projects like a $1.5 million water slide for Miami and $6 million for snow-making equipment at a Minnesota ski resort.

Did Mayor Nutter and the city get a bum rap?

The $100 million is not being requested to redevelop land so that Foxwoods can build (though there is a $25 million request for new police and fire stations that the Market East development would require).

The proposed relocation of Foxwoods to the Gallery would be an anchor that city leaders hope would make the case for resuscitating a long-standing campaign to revitalize Market East, with public transit and other improvements.

As an irate Nutter said last week, the proposed casino "is not getting one nickel."

Republicans seemed to back off last week.

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), said the senator's point was that any Main Street stimulus package would have to be vetted to make sure projects are worthy. That could include Philly's proposal, he said, adding: "The broader point here is that we ought to take a deep breath and see where this money is being spent."


Grassroots PA commentary


Bond agency raises Pittsburgh's credit rating
Monday, January 12, 2009
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A New York agency has given the city of Pittsburgh a fiscal thumb's up, boosting the credit rating on its $720 million debt.

Fitch Ratings gave the city a BBB+ rating, close to the middle of the ranks of investment-worthy debt, and declared its outlook "stable."

"At times of international financial woes, Pittsburgh's economy continues to ride the storm and serve as a model for cities throughout the country," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a statement released today, announcing the change that Fitch made Friday. "Our policies of holding the line on spending, cutting taxes and investing in our neighborhoods [are] working to make Pittsburgh's future brighter."

The city has stopped incurring new debt, has built a savings account that contained $89.5 million at the beginning of the year, and cut the cost of employee health insurance. Its pension fund is still badly underfunded.



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