Scranton Pensions Still ‘Severely Distressed’

SCRANTON -- Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said two years ago that Scranton's municipal pensions would be run out of money in three to five years.

On Monday, DePasquale returned with the findings of a new audit.

DePasquale says the good news is that after that statement two years ago, the city pension funds are improving, but he added Scranton is about to be hit with what's called a "pension bomb."

It means Scranton needs an additional $2 million next year to keep the three city pension plans afloat.

"It is still a very challenging situation that this audit shows," DePasquale said.

The numbers are barely better than they were in the summer of 2014 when Scranton's pensions were last audited.

The city's police, non-uniformed, and fire pension funds all saw a slight bump in the percentage of money on hand. But pension plans are not considered healthy unless they have 80 percent of the money needed to meet long-term obligations. Scranton's pension funds are still not even close.

"Past promises, and past mistakes from previous administrations here that we've outlined, those bills are now beginning to come due," DePasquale said.

To make matters worse, some of the financial protections Scranton has had as a distressed city will soon expire. DePasquale says losing those protections will cost Scranton an extra $2 million in pension obligations by the end of next year.

"We're not depending on any help from the state right now because that would be wishful thinking," said Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright.  "We're working on how we can do it on our own."

Mayor Courtright expects to meet with the city's finance committee to come up with a plan.

But the state auditor general says Scranton is at the breaking point. He hopes the state legislature steps in to help the city and others like it.

"To make sure that local taxpayers are not stuck with the bill and to make sure that people who have earned this benefit get it," DePasquale said.

Some of the other cities with pension funds labeled severely distressed include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Hazleton.

As for Scranton, if things don't change, the auditor general's report projects the Scranton firefighter pension fund to run out of money in two years and nine months.


  • Lewis Toole

    They need to move from pensions to 401k and 403b like that rest of the workforce. Corrupt swines in Scranton.


    Surprise,surprise its the unions again dragging a once prestigious city to its knees. The unions do to cities and towns what the illegals want to do to your daughters, lure them in and use them until there is nothing left other than a lifeless shell and then dispose the body in a dumpster in the back alley. I hope after the problem with the illegals, President Trump takes aim at the union goons who are choking the life out of middle class America.

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