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Politics & Government

Wolf Breaks Silence On His Ideas For Fixing Underfunded Municipal Pensions

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AP Photo/Matt Rourke
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Gov. Tom Wolf announced a four-person task force focused on municipal pensions – and suggested some tactics they might consider when deciding what to recommend.

Wolf had yet to say during his five months in office what, specifically, he thinks municipalities should do to deal with retirement systems underfunded by an estimated $7.7 billion.

When officials talk about “underfunded pension liability,” they mean the difference between what they expect to have on hand and what they’ll actually need to pay pensions to retired and vested police, paid firefighters and city hall employees.

The figure is based on many assumptions (investment returns, pay raises, hiring needs, longevity, etc.).  But its significance goes beyond a balance sheet.

“This underfunding can threaten both the retirement security of municipal employees and the ability of municipalities to provide basic services at a reasonable cost to their residents,” Wolf said in a statement released Thursday.

Some of his suggestions are similar to those for the separate statewide funds for teachers and state workers that have dominated discussions in Harrisburg as of late.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner Keystone Crossroads.