Distressed? Just Moderately
Following the determination of the PA Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC) that its New Years’ Eve plan of diverting anticipated tax revenues for the next three decades satisfied the dictates of Act 44, Pittsburgh’s pension plans are now classified at "moderately distressed" under that statute.
Under Act 44, pensions that have a funded ratio (assets/liabilities) of 90% or greater are not distressed; those 89% to 70%, minimally distressed; 69% to 50%, moderately distressed; and 49% or lower, severely distressed. Pittsburgh has left the lowest class and has raised its funded ratio to 62%, placing it squarely in the moderate category.
So who does Pittsburgh join in this grouping? It is much larger than the class it was in, with 162 other municipalities/authorities/associations. Larger PA cities include Johnstown (50% funded), Allentown (68%), and York (58%). Several plans from Allegheny County likewise show up, including those belonging to the municipalities of Crafton (65%), Harmar (69%), and West Mifflin (67%).
Long term sustainability of Pittsburgh’s plan counts on present and future officials living under the terms of the December 31st plan, getting City employment levels to that of better performing cities, and further meaningful pension reform from Harrisburg and at the local bargaining table.