Municipal pension benefits unresolved

    Contracts for city workers expire Tuesday. A big sticking point is the rising costs of benefits. A new report shows that the price tag for pension and healthcare benefits will top one-billion dollars in three years.

    Contracts for city workers expire Tuesday. A big sticking point is the rising costs of benefits. A new report shows that the price tag for pension and healthcare benefits will top one-billion dollars in three years.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090629sppew.mp3]

    Fiscal year 2013 is when health and benefit costs are projected to take up more than a quarter of the city’s budget according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Larry Eichel is a project director at Pew.

    Eichel: When it gets that big, it has the possibility of preventing the city from performing essential tasks, vital services get lost in having to pay for these commitments.

    The city’s unions are balking at any requests for concessions on benefits. A proposal by Mayor Michael Nutter would reduce benefits for future employees.

    Mayor Nutter wants to delay payments on the pension plan, but needs Harrisburg’s approval. At the same time, state lawmakers are considering a take-over of underfunded municipal pension systems.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.