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Increased Parking Rates Not Helping City's Pension Fund

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If you park in the city, you know that the rates have gone up as city parking taxes have gone to bail out its grossly underfunded pensions.

But even that added burden turns out not to be enough to set the pensions right.

Independent analysis confirms that even with these added revenues, the pension debt is still underfunded by more than $300 million and the debt is only going to grow.

"If you keep going that way you'll end up back where we were in 2009 with the fund basically in a death spiral," James McAneny with the Pennsylvania Employee Retirement Commission said.

To keep pace even at current levels, the city needs an additional $10 million a year. And to further reduce the liability, City Controller Michael Lamb says the city needs help from Harrisburg and concessions from its unions.

"I think that anybody that seriously looks at this including our employees recognize that we have a serious problem that needs to be addressed by a number of solutions," Lamb said.

And while fire union head Joe King says he's willing to talk, he will not require new firefighters to contribute to their pensions.

"I'm not going to compromise," King said. "Andy, I'll be truthful with you. I'm not going to compromise to find contribution for new firefighters."

It's clear now that increases in the parking tax will not be enough to shore up the city's pension and that something with have to give elsewhere if the problem is to be solved.

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