PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A plan to generate hundreds of millions of dollars toward the city’s depleted pension fund is not getting high marks from the state.
A new report said that plans to get pensions at least half-way funded are not enough.
City officials are banking on parking meters and parking revenue to help bail the city’s pension fund out of its financial doldrums. But, the state’s top fiscal watchdog is saying, ‘not so fast.’
“I would equate that to the Steelers getting the ball on the 34-yard line after a kickoff, and advancing it to the 50, 53, 54, 57-yard line, and not going all the way for the touchdown,” State Auditor General Jack Wagner said.
Wagner isn’t pulling those numbers out of thin air. In a new audit, he said the city’s pension plan is only 34 percent funded with $339.1 million in assets, but $989.5 million in liabilities.
City Council voted to dedicate future parking tax money towards bailing out the pension fund to avert a state takeover.
Wagner said that wouldn’t have been a bad thing.
“The Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System will require the city to adequately fund the pension system,” Wagner said.
While his office isn’t in the business of making recommendations, he is warning public leaders about one thing.
“Don’t give away the store in labor agreements, don’t give away more than you can afford because that will put the pension plans in a more severe economic position,” Wagner said.
While the debate continues, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority is expected to vote on items including parking fee hikes as soon as next week.