Former Jacksonville mayor and current city Chamber president John Delaney said Monday that a tax increase is likely the best way to fund the city’s pension reform measure.
The city has been weighing a pension reform bill for months, and one of the points of debate has been the source of funding for the measure. Current Mayor Alvin Brown’s plan was to team with a public utility company and borrow the money.
But Delaney says a tax increase is more likely.
From the Florida Times-Union:
JAX Chamber Chairman John Delaney said Monday a pension financing plan supported by Mayor Alvin Brown is “not viable” and the solution “probably is going to be a tax increase to solve that problem.”
In regard to pension reform, Brown favors a plan for the city and JEA to borrow $240 million to more quickly pay down the city’s $1.62 billion debt to the Police and Fire Pension Fund.
JEA would pay off its $120 million in borrowing by getting reductions in the amount it pays in annual contributions to City Hall. The city would repay its $120 million by using savings from its annual pension contributions to the Police and Fire Pension Fund, along with projected growth in tax revenues from an improving economy.
But Delaney said City Hall already is financially strained in paying the day-to-day costs of city services, so reductions in future JEA revenue would hurt the city. He said the same financial constraints affect the city’s ability to borrow $120 million and repay it.
He said to “dig out of the pension hole, it’s going to take a new independent slug of money, which ultimately probably is going to have to be a tax increase to solve that problem.”
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