Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mayor Vetoes Pension Bailout Bill

Pittsburgh City Council is to vote this afternoon on whether to override Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's veto of the latest plan to bolster the city's pension fund and avert a state takeover of the fund January 1.
The State Public Employees Retirement Commission is set to manage the city's pension fund unless it is at 50% of its obligation to workers and retirees. The fund is currently at 29.3%.
Council Wednesday voted 7-2 to "irrevocably" dedicate $414.7 million in parking tax revenues over the next 31 years...or about 14 million a year... for the pension fund. Council members Ricky Burgess and Theresa Kail-Smith voted "no."
Earlier Wednesday, Council gave tentative approval to dedicating the Emergency Services Tax....the $52 annual commuter tax.....for the pension fund. But officials with the Public Employees Retirement Commission questioned the legality of that set aside. That's when Council okayed using the parking tax revenues instead.
Mayor Ravenstahl quickly vetoed that measure. The mayor had 10 days to sign the bill, let it become law without his approval or veto it, but by that time the state would have taken over management of the pension fund.
In vetoing the measure, Ravenstahl said the proposal contained "numerous potentially fatal flaws." The mayor says the plan represents "value" (future tax revenues) but doesn't have the immediate cash needed to bring the fund up to the 50% level.
Commission executive director James McAneny told the Post-Gazette that he approves the concept of infusing "value" into the fund but warned Council not to cut it too close to the 50% mark.

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