"Pennsylvania's 3,000 pension plans represent a quarter of all municipal pensions in the country," and they're running out of money -- putting off road maintenance and other expenses to keep funds solvent -- as investment values drop, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in this story.

"Pennsylvania's collection of small municipal pensions is different from other states (like New Jersey), which have larger consolidated plans for public employees. About 70 percent of Pennsylvania's municipal pensions have fewer than 10 members." In some townships and boroughs, the untimely death of a single employee can set off a fiscal crisis.

"James McAnneny, the executive director of Pennsylvania's Public Employee Retirement Commission, said the recent financial downturn might encourage municipalities and public officials to reconsider a consolidated state pension plan for all municipal employees, which the commission supports.

"Legislation for some version of a consolidated pension has come up every year since 1992, but has consistently been voted down." Too many money managers, consultants, and their friends in politics profit from the current system -- even though taxpayers lose.