Pension Crisis

PA Debate Focuses on Pension Crisis

Forty-billion dollar unfunded liability has state finances in shambles

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DOYLESTOWN — In the middle of campaign season, debates are a dime a dozen.

But Pennsylvania's $40 billion public pension crisis — the subject of a Thursday night debate that may have been longer on wonky policy than all three presidential contests combined — carries a much larger price tag: about $40 billion.

More than 200 people attended the "Great Pension Debate" organized by the Commonwealth Foundation, a Harrisburg-based free market think tank and hosted by the James A. Michener Museum here.

Rick Dreyfuss, a retired actuary and pension expert for the Commonwealth Foundation, and Steve Herzenberg, executive director of the Keystone Research Center, a liberal policy think tank also based in the state capital, met on stage in this Philadelphia suburb to duke it out over the causes, solutions and problems of Pennsylvania's ongoing public pension crisis.