Mayoral hopeful Mark DeSantis met with Trib editors yesterday and casted doubt upon Luke Ravenstahl's claim of a $40 million budget surplus. According to DeSantis, any claim of fiscal stability is hogwash because the city's outstanding obligations are between $2 and $2.6 billion.
Said DeSantis in the Trib story:
"As a private citizen, I cannot get good numbers, and I know how to get good numbers, and I can't get them, so right away there's a problem. Informed speculation: probably bad numbers."
"When you add up the pension funds, workers comp claims, the bonded debt (and the city's share of the authorities' debt), the number comes up to $2.6 billion," he said.
That's about $8,400 per resident - man, woman, child.
It sounds like DeSantis will make the city's fiscal ruin his clarion call. Unfortunately, the only thing Pittsburghers find scarier than math is the Republican Party. He'll need some red meat to raise the ire of the rabble.
DeSantis also tells the Trib he's raised $100,000 (Luke has over $700,000). Expect that number to climb. DeSantis' staff is tight with millionaire Republican (is there any other kind?) Bill Scranton, who still has his eye on the governor's mansion and continues to help GOP candidates across the state.
Will Luke's penchant for peccadilloes and DeSantis' button-up "straight-talk" make this a horse race? Wait for the fall when financial disclosure reports are due.