Pension Obligations Pile Up for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, home to a quarter of all U.S. public pensions, has spent at least $2 billion since 1985 to help pay for managing the plans, including thousands that cover no more than 10 workers each.

The subsidy has prompted towns such as Halfmoon and Elk Lick to set up even smaller plans, with fewer than five members. Some don’t monitor administrative costs, including those paid to firms such as PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

“There’s no incentive to reduce your municipal expenses if the state’s paying,’  said James McAneny, executive director of the state’s Public Employee Retirement Commission. He calls the pensions “snowflakes’’ because each is different.

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