Reality Check: Pension reform

Reality Check: Pension reform

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - "It's a crisis. If not addressed responsibly and early, it could really hurt the city big time," said Mayor-elect John Cranley, talking about Cincinnati's greatest financial burden. No, it's not the streetcar.

It's what to do about the nearly $870 million dollars the city owes to its underfunded pension. The same pension debt that led Moody's to downgrade Cincinnati's credit rating earlier this year.

On Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly said no to Issue 4, the controversial charter amendment designed to turn Cincinnati's public pension from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, mandating that city leaders pay down the debt within ten years.

But despite the ballot initiative going down in a landslide, those responsible for Issue 4 have the same concerns today as they did before the election.

FOX19 spoke with Chris Littleton, a leading consultant on Issue 4 who said:

"If we don't do something about the pension in Cincinnati, we will end up like Detroit."

Detroit -- the largest American city to ever file for bankruptcy protection is currently in court arguing that the only way out of its financial black hole are the drastically deep cuts to retiree benefits.

While here in Cincinnati, cutting pension benefits is a possibility, Mayor-elect Cranley is seriously considering reducing benefits.

"Reducing benefits on a prospective basis, although it's not politically popular, we've got to do it," said Cranley.

For those who have spent years contributing to their pension, even the slightest cut to their benefits may sound unacceptable. However, consider this: In Detroit, attorneys are trying to convince a judge to allow the city to pay pensioners just sixteen cents on the dollar.

And that's Reality Check.


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