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Pew Report Documents Challenges Faced by Philadelphia in Paying for City Workers' Pensions and Health Care
Date:6/29/2009

all payments related to pensions and health care would represent more than one-quarter of the city's $4 billion, general-fund budget.

This cost figure of nearly $1.1 billion, drawn from city budget documents, is based on the assumption-- made by budget officials--that the city's health care costs will remain virtually unchanged for the next five years. If that assumption turns out to be wrong, the number could go higher.

Mayor Michael Nutter has said that the city needs to save a total of $25 million per year in benefit costs in new contracts with the municipal unions. Without these savings, he has said, there will be layoffs and additional service cuts. Union leaders have said that they are not interested in reductions in pay or benefits.

Quiet No More is a follow-up to Philadelphia's Quiet Crisis: The Rising Cost of Employee Benefits, a study published in January 2008 by Pew and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. As in the first study, the new report examines how Philadelphia's situation compares in some ways with other cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.

Pensions

The pension situation has grown worse since Pew's previous study, the result primarily of the fall in the stock market. Exactly how far below 50 percent the funding level has slipped--it stood at 55 percent a year ago--will become apparent in the coming months, when the city is required to make its annual report on the status of the fund. As of March 31, the market value of the fund's holdings had shru
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SOURCE Pew Charitable Trusts
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