Sunday, November 07, 2004

Les Ludwig's ideas on Fire

Mr. Ludwig is putting forth an idea to address the city's budget and its fire breau.

The Fire Department costs the city $76-million. The city's budget hole is some $20, $40 to $60-million depending on how you count. (The numbers are fluid as proposals are still under wraps and undetermined.)

The State of PA charges 2% on the gross premiums for all insurance companies transacting business in the state. This maked $558-million a year (figure obtained from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003). That money goes, in part, now to pay for police pension, retirement or disability purposes, fireman pension.

The plan calls for the 2% fee to go to 4%, earning an extra $500-million per year. That would fund the entire cost of the Pgh Fire Breau and allow for the reduction of some taxes. Additionally, other funds would go to Phili for its fire costs so as to make this a poltical win for both of the states biggest cities.

Furthermore, Ludwig calls for the Fire Department to spin out from the city and become an entitiy, such as a Fire Authority, that would never come back to the city for additional funding. The Fire Union would be the driving force, working in a more entrepreneurial way to raise its own funds, much like the suburban volunteer fire companies.

As a safeguard for performance, a contract for services would be established with accountability and monthly performance reviews to insure compliance to standards.

His letter has been posted to the Wiki, Platform.For-Pgh.Org:

Directory of video clips as Les tries to make his case.

1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...

Mayor Murphy, when he was in the state house, was on the Insurance Commission. At that time, Joe King, Firefighter, went to Murphy to seek an increase in the foreign tax pass through paid by insurance companies to help support the firefighters' pension fund.

Both Murphy and King are aware of this method of funding as a possible revenue stream. And, so it seems, Murphy has been bucking to get his hooks into that pie for a while.

But, when Murphy was in Harrisburg, he refused to take the bill out of committee, so said King.

Perhaps there is some interesting notes to the timing of this proposal from Ludwig. Heavy Or Not???