If DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program) had stayed the program it was initially intended to be, it probably would have been OK. DROP was intended to make Philadelphia a more attractive employer and to get and retain good workers. It was also originally intended for Philadelphia police officers and firefighters. Instead, it was expanded to cover almost 7,000 employees at a cost of $673 million* . This has been at a cost of $258 million to taxpayers since 1999.
The people who qualify for this benefit don’t want this program to end. Well, for the people already enrolled their plans will not be touched. Mayor Nutter is against the DROP program and with good reason. With the city of Philadelphia’s budget overwhelmed right now, $22 million a year in taxpayer money can go to far better things, especially considering the fact of how badly this program was abused. While people were retiring for a day, collecting a huge lump sum of money then going right back to work collecting full salary, children in the public school system were suffering due to lack of funding. Other important family oriented programs have had to be dropped while DROP participants were living large.
The ironic thing here is that Boston College was paid $80,000 to find out if DROP was cost effective. Could our own city government not go over the costs of this program and not wasted yet another $80,000? I would hope so, after all that’s why we elect officials. To protect our city and its economic stability.
My family does not reside in center city, we are in the outskirts of Philadelphia. Any bill that can serve to save Philadelphia taxpayers money, or at least put their money into important programs or schools directly effect my family. This is especially true if that money had been put into the Philadelphia School District. The high School my son attends is one of the highest in the area for people coming in from the city and attending illegally. For every child that does this, another child in our district whose parents pay taxes here suffers. If this money would be put into bettering the school district of Philadelphia, perhaps fewer parents would feel the need to cross this district border.
This program DROP is actually quite an embarrassment. In other states it is referred to as the “sham retirement” and they have already adopted bills disallowing any program like this. Not only is this program leading local taxpayers to feel a lack of trust in our elected officials for letting this program run amok, it has people in other states not trusting our city government as well.
Report: DROP Cost Taxpayers $258 Million