By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia City Council today launches its annual review of the mayor’s budget — but this year, there’s a twist: the budget may later need to be torn up because of cuts from Harrisburg. 

With the state legislature about to grapple with Gov. Corbett’s plan to close a four-billion dollar deficit, the mayor, council members and observers readily acknowledge that the proposed city budget is very much a work in progress. 

Among them is Sam Katz, the new chairman of the financial oversight board known as PICA (Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority). “What Philadelphia needs to do is operate with eyes wide open,” Katz said. “And to not make assumptions about things, in an environment in which a four-billion dollar state budget cut coming, would result in them ignoring reality.”

Zack Stalberg, with the political watchdog group Committee of 70, said the council budget hearings getting underway today are an opportunity, “Now that the state budget numbers have been revealed, the city budget as proposed is just not realistic at all.  That is a reason to start addressing the big issues, like the size of government, or the out-of-control pension problem.”

The budget hearings will last until mid-May, with a final vote by Council ideally coming by the end of May. But even then the full impact of the Harrisburg crisis may not be known.

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060

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