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Pittsburgh 2012 Budget Submitted to State Overseers

Pittsburgh Director of Finance Scott Kunka told a state oversight board that this year's city budget keeps taxes steady and incorporates a pension funding plan approved by the state.

Kunka presented Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's five-year budget proposal at the quarterly meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority Friday.

The city's pension plan is now 62% funded, said Kunka, and is on track to receive slowly increasing payments from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority over the next five years. In addition, the pension fund received a one-time, $10 million windfall from the state this year. But the mayor's budget chief added that a long-term pension funding solution must be worked out between the city and the state.

"We believe that throwing money at the pension is not the way to get to the ultimate solution, that we must now focus on reform," said Kunka. He said the mayor supports three reforms of state pension law: first, that the city isn't required to offer a defined contribution plan to new hires; second, that current employees can't spike their wages before retiring to receive greater benefits; and third, that the state "radically reform" its pension aid handouts.

Kunka also noted that Allegheny County's court-ordered property reassessment gives the city's 2012 budget "zero windfall," and that the city plans to roll out an educational program about the reassessment appeals process for property owners.