Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.

Donation - Other Level

Please use the quantity box to donate any amount you wish. Sign Up to Donate

Contact

Send a question or comment using the form below. This message may be routed through support staff.

Email Article

Password Reset Request

Register


Add a topic or expert to your feed.

Following

Follow Experts & Topics

Stay on top of our work by selecting topics and experts of interest.

Experts
Topics
Project
On The Ground
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed

Manhattan Institute

search
Close Nav

The Pension Grand Bargain: A New Reform Model for Cities

report

The Pension Grand Bargain: A New Reform Model for Cities

May 3, 2016
Urban PolicyPublic Sector Reform
Public SectorPension Reform

Abstract

In 2013, as Detroit’s crippling overhang of retiree pension-payment obligations hung over its bankruptcy negotiations, a daring move by a dozen major foundations broke the logjam: led by a $125 million pledge by the Ford Foundation, the philanthropic consortium collectively pledged $366 million toward the city’s pension liability, on the proviso that their contributions would leverage contributions from private corporations, state government, and public-employee unions. This paper examines whether a Detroit-style grand bargain could be successfully applied to four other midwestern cities facing the dangerous combination of significant pension costs and curtailed city services: Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis.

Key Findings

  • Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis have pension liabilities similar to, or greater than, those in pre-bankruptcy Detroit—liabilities that threaten the provision of core city services. 
  • Like Detroit, these cities also have robust local philanthropic communities, as well as high levels of household poverty and stagnant property-tax revenues.
  • Philanthropic assets in Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis are more than sufficient to support a Detroit-style grand bargain—if paired with contributions proportionally equivalent to those made by other Detroit stakeholders (corporations, government, and labor)—to reduce such cities’ pension debt, as well as to improve municipal services and/or reduce taxes.

READ FULL REPORT

Saved!
Close