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John H. Eichelberger
Municipal pension woes have people talking in Harrisburg

They may not yet be at the forefront of policy debates at the Capitol, but Pennsylvania's municipal pension troubles are stirring more discussion than usual. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale drew attention to the issue in January by releasing a report that showed the unfunded liability of cities and other municipalities that sponsor pension plans increased by about $1 billion over two years to $7.7 billion by the end of 2012. The widening pension debt is driven largely by the cost of police and fire protection and exacerbated by a sluggish economy, demographic shifts, a volatile stock market and retirees' increasing life expectancy. DePasquale, a Democrat who is the...