Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mayors: We Need Pension Help

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl gather with mayors from across the state yesterday to call on the General Assembly to act quickly to pass pension reform. He says without the assistance the commonwealth's cities and municipalities will face steep fiscal problems. Ravenstahl says Pittsburgh’s pension plan lost 93 million dollars last year alone. Noting cities and municipalities across the commonwealth have experienced heavy losses in the bad economy, he says lawmakers need to pass measures to help local governments restructure the ways they fund and distribute pensions. Ravenstahl says one solution is letting cities consolidate plans. He says more than three thousand municipalities are funding programs right now. “Each of those 31-hundred plans has a pension fund manager and people who work on that pension plan. So simply efficiencies of scales and the costs it would save for municipalities and governments to consolidate, I think is why that makes the most sense as we look at it for one of our four-point plans,” says Ravenstahl. The mayor’s also want the General Assembly to restructure the state pension aid formula, and ban employees from manipulating pension payouts by spiking overtime hours in their last years of employment. Ravenstahl says, “The reality is at some point, the state is going to have to deal with this pension problem for their own pension issues, not even to mention what we're experiencing at the local level. So when that happens we want to be prepared, have legislation ready, so we can simply insert ourselves into that discussion.” Experts say annual payouts fro the state pension plans may balloon to $5.7 billion a year by 2012.

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