Board of Revision of Taxes members must be pleased that their work slowdown buffaloed City Council into giving them whopping raises. Now that they've extracted even more public money for their part-time positions, they're actually doing their jobs again.
Before the raises, the members' pay ranged from $150 a day to $70,000 a year, and the board was processing about 150 appeals a week. But now that Council has caved and put them all in the $70,000 club, they've quadrupled their output, processing about 600 appeals a week.
Even with more cash in their overstuffed pockets, the board members are behind schedule in deciding a backlog of 23,000 tax appeals. That means the city won't get money it needs for public safety, schools, and other essential services until September at the earliest.
But what else can be expected from an institution that presided over a sloppy, unfair, and sometimes corrupt tax assessment system that took almost a decade to reform? This is only its most recent instance of putting self-interest above the needs of an entire city.
It's unfortunate that City Council acquiesced to such a crude display of greed and that Mayor Nutter allowed the raises to become law, though without his signature. Even if a Council override was inevitable, Nutter should have vetoed the bill and gone on record as rejecting the board's tactics.
Moreover, the members' raises may be in violation of a provision of the state constitution that prohibits midterm changes to officials' compensation. The pay grab should be challenged on those grounds in court.
The city judiciary, meanwhile, should be embarrassed by its appointees to the tax board, much as the state Supreme Court should be ashamed of having preserved the panel when Nutter and Council tried to eliminate it. After the current members' terms expire, they should be replaced by conscientious officials. People who would hold up an entire city struggling to fund basic services have no business on the public payroll.