PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mayor Bill Peduto wants money from fossil fuels and firearms to be kept out of the city’s pension funds.
Cities, states and universities across the country are considering similar plans to take pension money out of fossil fuels, out of guns, out of for-profit prisons.
The mayor’s proposal is part of his push for a greener city, but it’s also what he calls a moral issue.
“If we put money in, you need to make our society better and the future better — not take away from it,” Peduto’s chief of staff, Dan Gilman, told KDKA.
Mayor Peduto wrote a letter to the pension board detailing his proposal. The mayor’s letter reads, in part:
“The employees of the City of Pittsburgh and residents we serve are being negatively impacted by the stressors of climate change, senseless acts of violence and an incarceration system that is not enabling inequality. These are areas our financial means should not perpetuate.”
Gilman echoed the mayor’s sentiment, saying, “When it comes to climate change, when it comes to the broken criminal justice system that has put profits first, when it comes to what is happening with mass shootings in this country — we’re not gonna use our public dollars to line the pockets of these companies.”
Peduto has asked the pension board to form a committee to come up with a strategy to divest by the end of the year. But could this hurt the pension fund?
The mayor’s chief of staff says the benefits outweigh the potential costs.
“Even if there’s a financial hit to this — which we believe it can be done without — that’s one that’s worth taking. It’s time to stand up and send the message that our dollars won’t be used for this,” Gilman said.