A free thinker in the Heartland...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Something I didn't know

What else is our state finding difficult to pay? Pensions, it seems. From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette:

Hoosier cities and towns with police and fire departments have a $3.3 billion problem – a problem no one knows how to solve.

Every unit of local government that hired police or firefighters before 1977 already owes millions of dollars under an old pension plan to their retirees, and the amount they owe will double in less than three years when the state stops paying its share of the expense.

County sheriff’s deputies are covered by other pension plans and are not affected. But the city of Fort Wayne will owe an estimated $241 million.

The plan was required by state law, but the state pays only half the cost. And even that cost-sharing is scheduled to end Jan. 1, 2009, leaving almost every local government in the state in the lurch.

“It’s an overwhelming problem for municipalities statewide,” said Andrea Johnson, deputy director of Indiana Cities and Towns, the state municipal lobby. “Without state relief, it’s devastating to municipal budgets.”

A good article to read. I don't have any answers, but I also didn't know how big of a problem it was becoming.