Another Multi-City Attempt to Reform Legacy Costs

Pittsburgh’s most senior member of City Council is reaching out to chief executives, City Councils, and finance officials of other cities across the state to try and band together and lobby Harrisburg for changes to pensions and retiree health care.

Call it the latest version of "Hands Across Pennsylvania" if you will. But the Councilman has to be cognizant that not only did the Mayor try this approach two years ago but that the Legislature just spent a good deal of time this past summer and fall working on a minimal step toward changing the municipal pension system. That effort fell apart when Pittsburgh asked to "go it alone" and be exempted from the legislation. Soon after public sector unions aired their objections to the legislation and the reform movement was nullified.

The Council member noted that "we are all in this together and it is only by working together that we will end this downward spiral." Why would he have any faith or confidence that other cities, many of who might have been in favor of the reforms, would be open to another overture from Pittsburgh? Or that the legislators that worked on the issue would be open to another grass roots movement?