21 July 2009

Urban Lawmakers Hope for Special Session on City Pensions

Gov. Joe Manchin is not ruling out a special legislative session devoted to a measure meant "to help cities deal with massive deficits in their police and firefighters' pension plans," The Charleston Gazette reports.

Spokesman Matt Turner said the governor is "encouraged" by the "the so-called 'Huntington plan,'" crafted by lawmakers, city officials and other stakeholders.

"Under the proposal, municipalities could opt to close out pension plans whose overly generous benefits are creating huge unfunded liabilities for their municipal budgets," The Gazette explains. "New hires would go into a new retirement system that would be administered by the state Consolidated Public Retirement Board. With the hemorrhaging stopped in the old plans, cities would then devise plans to pay down the unfunded liabilities over the next 40 years."

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