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.

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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.

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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.

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Without reform – there’s no guarantee.