Amid the pension crisis, it’s time for change at PSERS

JULY 30, 2021 | THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER | by Editorial

Editorial, includes “The PSERS has been having quite a year. Executives with the $67 billion pension fund for Pennsylvania’s public school teachers were found to have stayed in lavish hotels on the agency’s dime."

City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report 2021

MAY 11, 2021

Truth in Accounting has released a new analysis of the 10 most populous U.S. cities that includes their largest underlying government units.

PSERS and its troubles: A guide to the woes facing Pa.’s biggest pension plan

APRIL 15, 2021 | THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER | by Craig McCoy, Joseph DiStefano

Here’s a breakdown of the issues facing the $62 billion pension fund for teachers. They include a botched figure for financial performance and FBI questions and subpoenas.

FBI investigating reporting fraud at $62 billion Pennsylvania public pension fund

APRIL 6, 2021 | NAKED CAPITALISM | by Yves Smith

By Yves Smith, includes “… returns allegedly falsified to avoid increased worker contributions … As the Philadelphia Inquirer, which broke this story, explains, even in the event that the PSERS’ investment performance meets or exceeds its investment target, only taxpayers will be on the hook to make up for a funding shortfall. If it falls below the target, both employees and taxpayers pony up. …” 

Philadelphia earns an ‘F’ for failing budget


By Christen Smith (The Center Square), includes “… Truth in Accounting likened city officials’ habit of underfunding pensions to ‘charging earned benefits to a credit card without having the money to pay off the debt.’ Instead, the funds are directed toward ‘politically popular programs,’ leaving future taxpayers to cover the losses. The tactic only makes budgets appear balanced, the report concludes.”

Report: Philadelphia taxpayer burden fourth worst in the nation


A new report finds that Philadelphia’s budget deficit would cost each of the city’s 1.5 million residents $27,500 to balance, representing the fourth highest tax burden in the country.

Majority of U.S. cities ill-prepared for COVID-19 pandemic

JANUARY 26, 2021

The 2021 Financial State of the Cities (FSOC) surveys the fiscal health of the 75 largest municipalities in the United States. This data is released today by Truth in Accounting (TIA), a think tank that analyzes government financial reporting.

Financial State of the Cities 2021

JANUARY 26, 2021

Our fifth annual Financial State of the Cities report. This analysis surveys the fiscal health of the 75 most populated US cities prior to the coronavirus pandemic. 

City Combined Taxpayer Burden Report 2020

MAY 12, 2020

Truth in Accounting has released a new report on the 10 largest U.S. cities. The City Combined Taxpayer Burden report analyzes the finances of each city, its county, state, and underlying government units.

2020 Financial State of the Cities

JANUARY 28, 2020

Our fourth annual report on the financial condition of the nation's 75 largest cities. 

The school district of Philadelphia’s pension costs


The School District of Philadelphia is contributing historically high sums to the state-run pension system for its employees, and these hefty payments will affect budgets for the district and the city government for years to come.

Philadelphia’s prohibition on refusing cash payments would not apply to the City of Philadelphia

SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 | MAULEDAGAIN | by James Maule

Six months ago, in ‘When Paying Taxes in Cash is Prohibited,’ I described legislation pending in Philadelphia that would prohibit stores from refusing to accept payments in cash. 

From Wall Street to City Hall: The woman who shocked Philadelphia politics


People thought Rebecca Rhynhart was crazy when she decided to run for Philadelphia controller. At the time, the city never had a woman in the position. Rhynhart also did not have a traditional political background.

Philadelphia’s road to pension recovery

JUNE 12, 2019 | THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS | by Larry Eichel, Thomas Ginsberg

Philadelphia has taken steps to put its underfunded public employee pension system on what will be a long road to recovery. Will those efforts work, and can the city stick to the plan?

Report: Philadelphia debt burden more than $50,000 per taxpayer

MAY 28, 2019 | KPVI NEWS (PENNSYLVANIA) | by Dave Fidlin

“Of the 10 largest U.S. cities, the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ had the fourth largest taxpayer burden, Truth in Accounting said in its report, ‘Taxpayers on the Hook.’ The ranking was based on outstanding debts – including unfunded pension bills – in the city itself, as well as other units of government. … Truth in Accounting’s report has raised criticism from at least one state-based organization, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center. ‘It’s not a red herring, and it’s not a real problem,’ Director Marc Stier said. “[The debt] will shrink at some point in the 2030s.’ …”

In wake of scandals, 2 major cities may curb politicians’ power

MAY 13, 2019 | GOVERNING | by Alan Greenblatt

There are always concerns that city councilmembers can become too parochial, obsessing about how projects will affect their own districts rather than the city as a whole.

Philadelphia hands bond deal to banks it says have fleeced the city

APRIL 30, 2019 | BLOOMBERG | by Amanda Albright

“Philadelphia alleges that Barclays Plc is one of seven banks that fleeced taxpayers by conspiring to inflate the yields on floating-rate municipal bonds. But the city hired the company to work on a new bond deal, anyway. …” 

What Pew found when it stress-tested Philly’s pension system

APRIL 26, 2019 | PHILLY.COM (PENNSYLVANIA) | by Claudia Vargas

“… Pew partnered with an actuarial firm and found that Philadelphia would be in decent shape if the city sticks with its plan of more contributions from employees, along with increased infusions from the general fund and sales tax revenue. … The trust also compared Philadelphia’s pension system, which is only 47 percent funded, to those of Baltimore (69 percent), Chicago (25 percent), Houston (71 percent), and Pittsburgh (58 percent). …” (Note: Stress tests shouldn’t focus on pension plans; that just elevates the priority of those plans in government. Philadelphia’s government pension system might be in "decent shape," but that doesn’t mean Philadelphia is.)

Here are the projects that will be funded by Philadelphia’s $181 million municipal bond


On election day, Philadelphia residents voted to approve a $181 million municipal bond that Major Jim Kenney will use to fund various capital projects throughout the city. 

Bankrupt Philadelphia plunders its property owners for cash

AUGUST 1, 2018 | SOVEREIGN MAN | by Simon Black

Like a lot of major cities in the United States, Philadelphia is in pretty rough financial condition.

1  2