Katie McGinty, the Democratic candidate for governor, has unveiled a proposal to aid local governments by selling $300 million in bonds to finance community improvements including green developments such as parks and bike paths and to support community managed land banks efforts.
The former DEP secretary also proposes to help municipalities shore up underfunded pension plans by encouraging consolidation of smaller plans and by imposing an increase in a tax on fire and casualty insurance firms.
Her campaign outlined a plan that would make up to $125 million from te bond issues to encourage communities to establish land banks to restore abandoned and blighted properties to the tax rolls. Communities would have to contribute a match of one-third to be eligible for the new state funds, but would retain all of the proceeds of successful sales of rehabilitated properties.
A Green Communities Funder would receive $165 million from the proceeds to be sued for projects such as greenways, urban gardens and riverfronts.
The pension program would raise a tax on insurance firms, the Foreign Fire and casualty Premium Tax, from 2 percent to 2.2 percent. The proceeds would be used to encourage smaller pension systems to manage their investments mroe efficiently through the Pennsylvanian Municipal Retirement System.
The McGinty campaign projects that over 20 years, her initiative could reduce unfunded liabilities, now estimated at $7.5 billion, by as much as $3.5 billion