Chair of Fiscal Stability Committee Sets Hearing during Summer Session to monitor city’s accountability during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
PHILADELPHIA – Councilmember Allan Domb (At Large) today called on the City’s Finance Director to examine a $126 million discrepancy in revenue projections that was identified in a recent analysis of the FY2021-25 Five Year Plan.
The analysis was included in a July 14 letter the Finance Director sent to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA). It presented several contingencies that if implemented would save the city money and help avoid a negative fund balance. However, there is a significant discrepancy in the revenue projections combined with alternatives to tax increases and programmatic cuts that were not discussed during the months-long budget hearings.
“This raises several red flags as to the legitimacy of our budget negotiations,” said Councilmember Domb. “There is a major monetary difference from what the Administration is projecting and what PICA is estimating. A $126 million discrepancy needs to be addressed, especially as our city tries to recover during the pandemic.”
“Prior to approving the recent Five-Year Plan, my colleagues and I said we were going to be closely monitoring all financial matters in addition to regularly scheduled reporting. We all want to work together and assist the city with monitoring its finances and providing necessary resources. We all want to help and work together as a team.”
As Chair of the Committee on Fiscal Stability and Intergovernmental Cooperation, Councilmember Domb has scheduled a hearing July 28 at 2 p.m. In addition to discussing the discrepancies with the revenue projections and the Administration’s decision to develop a contingency plan outside of the budget process, the committee will examine several items related to the Five-Year Financial and Strategic Plan:
- the final status of tax revenues collected by the extended July 15, 2020 deadline for Business Income and Receipts Tax payments,
- the ongoing management of spending versus budget, especially in areas of overtime spending throughout the year, and
- how the Administration will measure the impact of City spending for all residents and businesses.
“Our residents and businesses deserve to know how the city is accounting for its spending at all times,” said Domb. “The Administration needs to ensure everyone that it can provide essential services, make strategic investments and set aspirational goals for our short-term health and our long-term well-being.”
The Committee on Fiscal Stability will continue to hold hearings and address the city’s revenues and expenditures. Additionally, Councilmember Domb sponsored legislation to create a Special Committee on the Future Economy of Philadelphia that will allow councilmembers to work with stakeholders to develop policies that promote economic competitiveness, equality, and expansion for the city and all people. The resolution passed in the most recent council sessions.
“It’s time we get serious about our jobs crisis and intentionally build a shared economy for all Philadelphians,” said Councilmember Domb. “We can become the City everyone expects us to be – one that’s equitable, inventive, and resilient.”