Pittsburgh pension board delays vote on divestment in guns, gas and private prisons
A board overseeing Pittsburgh’s pension plans delayed a vote Thursday on Mayor Bill Peduto’s request to pull investments from companies dealing in fossil fuels, firearms and for-profit prisons
Peduto was unable to attend the meeting and members of Pittsburgh’s Comprehensive Municipal Trust Fund board said they wanted to hear the mayor’s proposal before voting on it.
Peduto in June penned a letter to the board requesting a pull out from the three economic sectors. Market experts say the strategy could weaken the funds and result in lower annual returns. Administration officials have said they believe the city can develop a divestment strategy that would not harm the funds.
The board is expected to discuss the request again during its next quarterly in December.
Pittsburgh has struggled for years with underfunded employee pension funds and narrowly avoided a state takeover in 2010 by by dedicating $735 million in parking tax revenue over 30 years to the funds.
Pittsburgh at the time had about 30 percent of funding needed to cover about $1 billion in pension payments for future and retired police officers, firefighters and municipal employees. The Peduto administration has increased annual pension funding since the mayor took office in 2013.
As of June the city had about 60.6 percent of cash necessary to cover $1.3 billion in pension liabilities, according to the pension board. The invested portfolio totaled $788.4 million on June 30 and earned a return of about 6 percent over the previous 12 months. The portfolio so far this year was earning 12.4 percent.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .