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Biggest Political Oops, Part II

Editors' Pick

Early last year, after vetoing an increase to $15 an hour in the county’s minimum wage, County Executive Ike Leggett commissioned a study by Philadelphia-based consulting group PFM in the hopes of better informing future debate on the matter. Leggett now probably wishes he had never gone there. When the report was released on Aug. 1, controversy over its methodology generated as much heat as the perennially contentious minimum wage issue itself as critics derided the PFM study as “junk science.” Leggett, after first defending the study as a “valuable contribution to the debate,” asked PFM to review its findings, which initially predicted a loss of about 47,000 jobs in the county if there was an increase to $15 by 2022. Days later, PFM officials publicly acknowledged that a “computation error” had caused them to double the actual estimate of lost jobs. “Can we get our money back?” Councilmember George Leventhal asked during an October hearing. Two days later, PFM sought to salvage the situation—and potential future business with the county—by waiving its $149,600 fee.

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