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March 28, 2016

Best of the Blog: What We’re Saying About Pension Reform

FtN Swing

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Outdated pension plans are affecting municipalities statewide.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.

Plain Talk

Our Plain Talk series is a straightforward look at municipal pension reform. The facts speak for themselves in these blogs:

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!