Pew Report Cites Employee Benefits as City's Biggest Financial Obstacle

Publication: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Author: Marcia Gelbart


06/30/2009 - With the city's municipal labor contracts set to expire at midnight tonight, a new report issued yesterday highlighted the newest obstacles to Philadelphia's eroding finances, focusing on the single biggest expense: employee benefits.

Philadelphia's pension fund - which covers 65,883 current and retired workers - has now sunk to a level under 50 percent, making it even more underfunded than it was a year ago, the report said. Most experts consider a fund healthy when it is 80 percent funded.

Meanwhile, the city's total spending on pensions and health care, now at $830 million, is projected to rise to almost $1.1 billion by 2013 - or a jump from 21 percent to 26 percent of general-fund spending. The city's budget that year is expected to be $4 billion.

Titled, "Quiet No More: Philadelphia Confronts the Cost of Employee Benefits," the report is an update of a similar study released in January 2008, three weeks into Mayor Nutter's term.

Like the first study, it was issued by Pew's Philadelphia Research Initiative, which The Pew Charitable Trusts created last year to study Philadelphia issues.

Read the full article Pew Report Cites Employee Benefits as City's Biggest Financial Obstacle on the Philadelphia Inquirer's Web site.

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