Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s SuperCommittee!

Up, up, and away!

A group of 16 elected officials, community leaders, union bosses and pension executives have until Jan. 31 to find ways to tackle the triple threat to the city’s future solvency — ballooning pension obligations, runaway health care costs and massive long-term debt.

In Washington, a 12-member congressional committee must forge a plan by Thanksgiving to reduce federal deficits by $1.5 trillion in the next decade or unleash automatic across-the-board spending cuts. The city’s Long-Range Financial Management Task Force will produce what its presumptive chairman calls a “menu of alternatives” to protect the city’s financial health for the next 30 years.

“If the city doesn’t do anything, then the long-term obligations go up and up and up. If we do nothing, then it will make it more difficult to provide city services,” said Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck, one of Mayor Annise Parker’s 15 nominees to the task force that the City Council can appoint today. Controller Ronald Green appoints the 16th.

The City Council created the task force as an amendment to this year’s municipal budget, through which it will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on pensions and health care costs. Those numbers are projected to soar. On pensions, for example, the city has budgeted $243 million this year and projects spending $368 million just four years from now. And the city is $5 billion short of what it needs to cover payments to present and future retirees.

The task force will not make recommendations. It instead will deliver a series of options, with pros and cons attached to each.

I kid, but this is important and necessary work. I don’t know what they can do beyond recommending cutbacks, but maybe I’m being overly pessimistic. I wish them luck in their task. Greg has more.

Related Posts:

Comments are closed.