Study says Pittsburgh's pension problem unique in county
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A survey of suburban communities around Pittsburgh found that none has pension problems comparable to those plaguing the city, according to a new study by the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy.
Pension plans for uniformed personnel -- mostly police and firefighters -- are funded, on average, at 102 percent among the 20 municipalities studied in the report on spending and taxation. Plans for non-uniformed workers, primarily office workers and managers, are funded on average at 105 percent.
Those funding statistics are for 2008, the most recent year for which comparable data was available. City pension plans were funded at slightly more than 40 percent during that period, according to Frank Gamrat, the senior researcher on the institute's study. That number become worse during the recent recession, with city pension funding levels dropping to around 30 percent currently, he said.
The results of the study of how local governments raise and spend money were released this morning at a press conference Downtown.
The contrasting data on the health of pensions appear to provide additional ammunition for those opposed to the idea of municipal consolidation in a county that has 130 municipalities. "The study offers evidence of why the notion of municipal merger has no legs outside the City of Pittsburgh," Dr. Gamrat said.
The 20 communities studied were chosen from around Allegheny County. They were picked to represent different geographic areas and different levels of income, he said.
First Published August 25, 2010 11:57 am