We’ve had a lot to say about pension reform on our blog in the past few months. Check out a sampling of the blog series we’ve recently published.
Municipalities in Distress
Outdated pension plans are affecting municipalities statewide. In fact, 41% of Pennsylvanians live in a municipality that is financially distressed. With a majority of a municipality’s budget going toward funding pension obligations, there isn’t much left to go around. In our blog series, Municipalities in Distress, we’ve taken a closer look at some of these financially distressed municipalities to see just how pension debt is causing problems for their residents.
- Farrell’s unpaid pension liability amounts to $343 per capita. With a population of 4,864, that amounts to almost $1.7 million dollars per year. It was also the first city to declare distress under Act 47.
- According to Tom Baldrige, President and CEO of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry, “Lancaster has been unable to hire additional police and firefighters.”
- From 2011 to 2013, York’s overall funding ratio dropped from 62 to 58 percent.
- The earned income tax rate in Reading went from 3.4% in 2012 to 3.6% in 2015 to compensate for pension costs.
- In Easton, public safety costs (including pensions), represent 48% of the city’s total budget every year.
- Since Mayor Joe Sinnott took office in 2006, Erie’s pension costs have risen more than 300%.
- Amounting to more than $4.9 million, Altoona’s municipal pension fund issues are costing residents about $107 each.
Our Plain Talk series is a straightforward look at municipal pension reform. The facts speak for themselves in these blogs:
- Pension Reform is NOT Just a Big City Problem: How can small towns in Pennsylvania possibly be affected as much as big cities? The truth of the matter is that unfunded pension liability is prevalent in communities big and small.
- Supporting Reform Supports Police and Firefighters: The municipal pension reform in HB 414 will not affect any current municipal public safety workers. Only new hires will transition to the newly formulated plans.
- Municipal Pension Reform is NOT About Politics: While the sponsors for House Bill 316 and Senate Bill 755 were Republicans, both had considerable support from Democratic mayors and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, as well as bipartisan support among local elected officials.
- Municipal Pensions DO Affect You: Municipal fiscal instability has a ripple effect – moving outward and blanketing the Commonwealth.
- Municipal Pension Costs are THAT BAD: The $8 billion in municipal pension debt compares to about 25% of the entire Pennsylvania state budget.
Browse through our most recent blogs and learn more about the need for municipal pension reform. Without municipal pension reform, the future of our dedicated public safety personnel is in jeopardy, and our municipalities will continue to struggle. Tell your PA Senate and House representatives that you need them to take action now. Tell them to fix the numbers!