Governor Tom Corbett has made state pension reform part of his recent budget proposal.
The Auditor General wants to include Pennsylvania’s underfunded municipal pension plans.
Eugene DePasquale [dee-pas-SKWAW-lee] says nearly half of them are considered “distressed.”
Together – they are underfunded by nearly 7 Billion dollars – that’s “billion” with a “b” –
And the problem is only getting worse.
DePasquale warns that many townships, boroughs and municipalities risk bankruptcy –
As pension contribution requirements increase –
And budgets stay stagnant or shrink.
He believes the problems need to be tackled now –
That nothing will happen after June because this is an election year.
DePasquale also worries that if lawmakers only tackle state pension reform –
It will be impossible to get them to focus on municipal reform later.
Pension reform is certainly not a sexy subject.
There’s no easy solution.
But the Auditor General is right.
Municipal employees around the state – including police and firefighters –
Deserve to know that the pensions they are counting on –
Will be there when they retire.
Without reform – there’s no guarantee.