Mayor Michael Nutter

Link: Nutter says city finances are getting worse [Inky]

Citing the recent dismal performance of the city's pension fund, and startlingly low real estate transfer-tax collections, Nutter said the city's five-year deficit would be larger than the $1 billion estimate he made Nov. 6.

Just how much larger won't likely become clear until January, Nutter said, when the administration will be better positioned to quantify it.

The city will begin drafting a new budget then, and administration officials expect to have a fuller picture of how weak the revenue is likely to be this year.

"The warning signs are clearly there, and we wanted to let people know so they weren't surprised later," Finance Director Rob Dubow said in a phone interview before the meeting last night.

The city has collected $88.6 million in real estate transfer taxes so far this fiscal year, more than $28 million less than last year. The numbers are so anemic that Dubow and Nutter fear the city will not even meet its revised austerity budget figures.

The fall has been just as cruel to the city's pension fund, which lost 12 percent of its value in October alone. The worse the pension fund performs, the more the city has to pay out of its budget to ensure that retirees get their pension payments.