inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

Philly Fails to Make Top 20 Best Cities List; Fitch Gives A+ Rating

WalletHub is out with its list of best-run and worst-run cities.

Despite new Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s promises of significant improvements, Philadelphia isn’t among WalletHub’s top 20 best-run municipalities.

The City of Brotherly Love ranked 138 out of 148 larger American cities.

WalletHub used six categories for its rankings: 1) Financial Stability, 2) Education, 3) Health, 4) Safety, 5) Economy and 6) Infrastructure & Pollution.

Additionally, the website calculated overall quality of services scores for each city. It also factored in the total budget per capita to determine a score per dollar spent index.

The top 10 cities were Nampa, Idaho; Lexington-Fayette, Ky.; Boise, Idaho; Nashua, N.H.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Durham, N.C.; Provo, Utah; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Wichita, Kan.

Philadelphia also has the unfortunate label of “America’s poorest big city,” with poverty at 22.8 percent, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The best-run cities in America use their budgets most effectively to provide high-quality financial security, education, health, safety and transportation to their residents. Many of the top cities also have a very low amount of outstanding government debt per capita, which can prevent financial troubles in the future,” said Cassandra Happe, WalletHub analyst.

City officials say not so fast.

Joe Grace, communications director for Parker, said the city’s credit rating was recently upgraded to A+ by Fitch Ratings. He pointed out the higher rating will decrease the cost of borrowing for the city, and Parker agreed.

“I am delighted by the news that the City of Philadelphia’s credit rating has been upgraded to “A+” – our highest group of credit ratings in decades,” said Parker. “This upgrade is the product of the hard, sustained work of every member of our finance and budget teams, including the Treasurer’s Office, Finance Director Rob Dubow, and everyone on these teams. It’s also the result of our improving pension fund, which is 62.2 percent funded, its highest level in two decades. Our economy is diverse and improving – another positive indicator. Higher credit ratings mean lower interest costs when Philadelphia borrows money, a savings for taxpayers. This credit rating upgrade proves that we’re moving in the right direction in Philadelphia.”

Philadelphia Treasurer Jackie Dunn added, “We are pleased to see our commitment to the city’s fiscal health recognized through this latest rating action. The city’s financial management team has really focused on making critical investments, building reserves, and improving the health of our pension fund.”

Grace said, “We’ll stand on these rankings from Wall Street any day of the week.”

However, Philadelphia also ranked near the bottom, 72 out of 75, for cities ranked for how well they’re run by Truth in Accounting.

That organization found the city needs $11.2 billion to pay bills and has a taxpayer burden of $20,400 per taxpayer. Meaning if all bills were to be paid in one year, that’s how much each taxpayer would owe. Truth in Accounting gave Philadelphia a grade of “F.”

While things had improved somewhat due to federal COVID relief dollars, the city’s pension debt increased due to the poor performance of its investments, Truth in Accounting said on its website. The city set aside only 62 cents for every dollar owed in pensions and only 14 cents for every dollar owed for retiree healthcare costs, according to Truth in Accounting.  Philadelphia has $8.6 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, the organization noted.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

Chester County’s Eric Roe: Minimum Wage Hike Would Hurt Small Biz, Cost Jobs

Delaware Valley county officials–with the sole exception of Chester County Republican Commissioner Eric Roe–signed a letter penned by Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker asking Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The March 22 letter said, in part, “Pennsylvanian’s current minimum of $7.25 is the lowest of our surrounding states. (In New Jersey, it is $15.13; in Delaware, it’s $13.25.)

“This ultimately puts a strain on Pennsylvania’s families, leaving little left over to cover basic necessities, let alone saving or investing for their future. Raising the minimum wage is not only an investment in our residents but also an investment in the state’s future.”

The letter referenced the left-leaning MIT Living Wage Calculator claiming the hourly “living wage” for a person with no children in Bucks County is $25.15, $26.49 in Chester County in Delaware County, $23.58; in Montgomery County, $25.46 and $22.29 in Philadelphia County.

But Roe said Democrats were getting the economics wrong.

“The inconvenient truth is that markets have always done a better job of pulling people out of poverty than governments ever have. Many companies are already offering starting pay at well over $15 per hour, and they still have trouble finding people to take those jobs. If we want jobs that give workers a sustainable living wage, then we need to get government out of the way. That’s why I declined to sign that letter,” Roe said.

Federal data confirm that while Pennsylvania’s mandatory wage is low, the state ranks 20th in the nation for highest average annual salary ($58,470).

As for Keystone State workers earning hourly wages, their $28.11/hour in 2023 was the 19th highest in the U.S.

One other key fact about the minimum wage in Pennsylania, notes Commonwealth Foundation Director of Policy Analysis Elizabeth Stelle: Just one percent of the workforce has minimum wage jobs.

“Unfortunately, a $15 minimum wage would hurt the very people it intends to help, resulting in fewer jobs, weaker benefits, and higher prices,” Stelle said. “Just last week, the IFO (state Independent Fiscal Office) found that increasing the minimum wage to $15 would kill 21,000 jobs.

“If our elected leaders want to raise wages without eliminating jobs, they should ask Gov. Shapiro to cut taxes and eliminate government red tape. We need to hold the governor accountable for reducing business taxes—just as he promised.”

Both Bucks County Republican Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo and Montgomery County Republican Commissioner Tom DiBello signed the letter. DiGirolamo did not respond to a request for comment. DiBello, however, defended his support for a mandatory wage hike.

“I joined my fellow leaders in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, and Delaware Counties in supporting a maximum $15 minimum wage because, by and large, that threshold has already been met by many of our region’s companies,” said DiBello. “Businesses need to offer competitive pay to attract quality employees. In most cases, the market sets the level of pay.   By recognizing the realities of the current workforce’s pay and the importance of attracting quality employees, the market has already set the minimum wage.

“In reality, I’m only supporting what is already occurring, nothing more,” said DiBello.

“I like them and respect them both, They have very different districts from me,” Roe said of his fellow Republican commissioners. However, as the minority commissioner, Roe said, he sees it as his job to “be different” from the Democratic majority and speak up if he disagrees with a policy.

“I didn’t hesitate to say no when asked to sign that letter,” said Roe.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or


GIORDANO: The Heart of the City

Widely different views of Philadelphia’s future came into focus last week.

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker and District Attorney Larry Krasner held major press conferences with widely divergent approaches to fighting crime.

Parker announced that Pedro Rosario, a Philadelphia Police captain in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, was elevated to the rank of deputy commissioner, and his sole mission will be to police Kensington. This is a much-needed signal that Parker is going to bring a methodical and determined approach to the shame of Kensington. She said several times on my show that she has compassion for those addicted to drugs, but Kensington will not be an open-air drug market on her watch.

On the other hand, Krasner’s press conference was dedicated to his opposition to the new state law, Act 40. It requires the Pennsylvania attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor who would have the power to prosecute crimes that happen on SEPTA or in the general area of their stations. The intent is not to take away Krasner’s power to prosecute but to add a prosecutor who will enforce laws that Krasner ignores or does not fully charge. This bill had the support of many Democrats in Harrisburg and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Krasner and his supporters said this law suppresses democracy in Philadelphia, and they blamed former President Donald Trump’s influence on Republicans in Harrisburg. Krasner also claimed that his philosophy and methods still have overwhelming support in Philadelphia.

I would challenge that assertion. If Krasner still had that kind of support, then former City Councilperson and Krasner favorite Helen Gym would have beaten Parker in the Democratic primary for mayor. Instead, Parker won because people in many minority neighborhoods in Philadelphia wanted an all-out effort against lawlessness.

The arena where Parker and Krasner will first lock horns is over retail theft. It is clear that Krasner will not prosecute shoplifting under $500. It’s clear that even if the items stolen are over $500, Krasner will not do much about it. This policy has led, in some cases, to a lack of effective police response to these crimes and some businesses, such as Wawa, to either leave Philadelphia or scale back their presence.

Parker and newly-appointed Police Commissioner Kevin J. Bechtel are going to fully prosecute these crimes and periodically inform the public of arrests. They will challenge the Krasner narrative that the police are not doing their job. I believe this is a crime that infuriates people, and they want it to be a police priority.

The secret sauce for Parker on Kensington drug crimes and retail theft is community engagement. She and police officials will meet extensively with communities and will incorporate their ideas. She also will institute massive cleanup campaigns across the city.

Parker does not shy away from a fight.

However, it’s unlikely that Krasner will change his methods. He believes his policies are the best way to lead Philadelphia out of some of the worst poverty in the country. He still has great support in largely progressive neighborhoods that are somewhat insulated from the worst of crime. Some of his base is even excited by the grand experiment he is conducting.

Parker’s targeting of Kensington through engagement and enforcement is the model to use to diminish Krasner’s destructive capabilities. If she can make it work in Kensington, she can make it work anywhere.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or

SOLOMON: New Philadelphia Mayor Sets Sights on Crime

In her first hours on the job, Cherelle Parker, the new mayor of Philadelphia, has outlined a platform that prioritizes addressing crime and improving law enforcement.

On Parker’s first day in office, she declared, in an executive order, a state of emergency on crime. Parker declared a citywide public safety emergency, directing the Police Department to develop comprehensive plans to address crime across the city.

This action is no surprise given Parker’s election platform, built on her commitment to tackling the pressing issue of crime and public safety.

This executive order calls for a report from the police commissioner within 30 days outlining a plan to reduce crime levels. The mayor’s supporters will undoubtedly view the executive action as highlighting her commitment to prioritizing public safety and firmly demonstrating her intent to tackle the challenges promptly and proactively.

Parker’s planned response to gun violence includes a focus on more policing and the reintroduction of stop-and-frisk. Before the election, Parker expressed the need for a high-quality law enforcement leader who could change the culture of the police department, emphasizing the importance of reform, empowering good officers, and standing up to the police union.

Parker has been supportive of law enforcement, indicating a willingness to consider controversial practices and change tactics.

The mayor’s platform is aimed at striking a balance between empowering the police to do their job and addressing the concerns of the community.

Through the declaration of a public safety emergency and the stress on the importance of comprehensive plans for crime prevention, Parker has indicated a prominent emphasis on law enforcement and community safety as central elements of her agenda. The executive order serves as a guide for her governance approach and initiates a sequence of measures designed to enhance public safety.

The best-case scenario is that the mayor’s emphasis on reducing crime and improving public safety would shift in the Philadelphia Police Department’s operational strategy toward a more proactive and community-oriented approach.

Civil rights groups have raised concerns about excessive policing and its effect on certain communities. The reintroduction of stop-and-frisk, a controversial practice known for its disproportionate effect on minority communities, has raised red flags.

After her election, Parker hinted at increasing police presence and potentially relaxing employment requirements. However, the potential of increasing police presence and relaxing employment requirements has sparked concerns about the risk of over-policing and the need to ensure that law enforcement practices are conducted to respect civil rights and avoid discriminatory outcomes.

Civil rights groups have historically emphasized the need for effective monitoring and accountability mechanisms to address police misconduct and ensure that law enforcement practices are in line with civil rights standards. Parker’s order is likely to amplify the concerns, emphasizing the need to balance public safety measures and safeguarding civil rights while promoting equitable and community-centered policing practices.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or