Monday, November 8, 2010

UPDATED with Council Reaction: Mayor Ravenstahl's Budget Message Breakout Quotes

UPDATE 2: Reactions from City Council members to Mayor Ravenstahl's address which warned of a coming "financial nightmare" in 2016 :

Council Finance Chair Bill Peduto:

• "Under his scenario which he presented today which is using one sided numbers, sure you can make that argument. But is it reality? No. Not unless we choose to go down that path. That's a path I will never travel."

• "We had a scolding, if nothing else,of city council -- and it wasn't even based on reality."

• "He's still trying to push an idea, even at the point of today, which was harmful to Pittsburgh."

Council President Darlene Harris (via written statement):

• "We have no intention of selling ourselves short, and no plan to initiate debt that will destroy future generations."

• "We also have no intention of foregoing billions of dollars of revenue over the next 50 years so that investment bankers can drain the life out of our City."

•"...In the coming weeks we will be actively working - day and night - to produce a decent, working solution to the immediate crisis, and thereafter this body intends to address the very core of the issue - the pension funds themselves.

Councilman Doug Shields:

•"I was little chagrined, to say the least, to hear that it's all council's fault, number one. Number two, there is a viable plan that the council enacted on the table."

• "I never saw a mayor come into the chamber and essentially insult the council."

• "It was like, 'okay, I'm coming into council to yell at the council about something, to basically throw this in the council's face, and blame them for everything."

Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak:

• "He said the actions of a few. I think there was clear majority that rejected the one option. there are still other options on the table."

Here are some key quotes from Mayor Ravenstahl's budget message delivered to City Council. (I posted a version of this earlier via mobile e-mail, but thumbtyping via BlackBerry leaves something to be desired in the way of formatting.) I've also expanded some quotes.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl:

• "It appears that Pittsburgh must return to the years of deficit spending..."

• " forcing us into a financial culture that looks too much like our past".

• "I submit five year plan today that does not raise taxes. That does not make draconian cuts to basic city services."

• "...makes sure that Pittsburghers can get through the next five years unharmed, even when confronted by pension payments that double and triple..."

• "We will do that by using our fund balance to ensure that we survive through 2015."

• "In 2016, the first year following the five year plan, our fund balance will be depleted."

• "(In 2016) we will be forced to make a $91 Million payment to the state pension system.."

• "...that is a quarter of our city's entire budget...more than it costs to operate any city departmentt."

• "After 2016, I cannot tell you how Pittsburgh will..deliver..core services without severe cuts & tax increases."

• "Pension payments after 2016 are even more staggering."

• "With a fund balance that is dried up, Pittsburgh will have to make a $127 Million pension payment in 2017. "

• "...our city walks with its eyes wide open into a fiscal nightmare."

• "I saw this day coming and prepared city for it as best I could."

• "...presented City Council with a solution that could have saved us from this..."

• "...some members of City Council chose the short term, irresponsible approach..."

• " is not too late to prevent an eventual Pittsburgh bankruptcy."

• "...if five members of council choose to do the right thing."

• "We can still avert pension crisis by making a large cash infusion into our pension fund immediately..."

• "...and fighting for a new revenue stream to increase our pension payments..."

• "...ignoring these solutions...will in time force us....back to the dark days..."

• "That is not what I wanted. It is not what is best for Pittsburgh..."

• "Nonetheless, if that is the path Council chooses, we must live with it, regardless of how disastrous the long term consequences will be."

• "The budget and five year plan I present today balances."

• "It maintains services without raising taxes through 2015".

• "...but Pittsburgh will not be able to absorb the costs of state takeover in 2016 or beyond."

Sent from my mobile device


Anonymous said...

When is the issue of reducing pensions or having a 401K going to be addressed. Selling off Public assets to benefit a few is absoltely ridiculous. It appears the "Boy" Mayor is afraid of the Fire, police, unions. Time to face the harsh realities, the good old days are long gone. Time to pay the piper.

Anonymous said...

All I have to say is wait until election day....there are going to be some very unhappy council members.....Parking really thats all thats going up??? Who cares......He should stand by the unions, they are the ones that are protecting this city.