Not the Mayor’s Choice?

Not the Mayor’s Choice?

Today the Mayor’s spokesperson was quoted as saying that the parking lease for pension relief deal is something the Mayor is being forced into. "Let’s be clear: The mayor doesn’t want to do this" was the exact statement.

Consider for a moment that the state is not (and never was) going to swoop in and rescue troubled pension systems like Pittsburgh; there is no magic wand to wipe away the $650 million in unfunded liabilities; there are few options to generate a lump sum of cash to put into the pension fund; there is no free lunch.

But to imply that the Mayor does not want to do the lease is disingenuous. Recall that the state passed Act 44 last fall as a way to deal with municipal pensions. It even had the makings of moving to a defined contribution system and away from defined benefit plans. But the Mayor wanted no part of it and said, nearly a year ago, "just give us a chance to solve this locally. We can do it. … Give us a two-year window to explore leasing [public] garages".

Out of that came the amendments to Act 44 and the granting of the Mayor’s preferred alternative, the same one we are now told he is lukewarm on.