Saturday, June 25, 2005

West Virginians reject $5.5 billion pension bond proposal


June 25, 2005 9:39 PM


Voters went to the polls today and rejected Governor Manchin's attempt to repair West Virginia's ailing retirement system by selling billions of dollars in bonds.

With 66 percent the state's 19-hundred-and-65 precincts reporting, the pension bond measure was failing 47 percent to 53 percent.

The governor had wanted voters to amend the state's constitution so up to five-and-a-half billion dollars in bonds could be sold to aid the teachers, judicial and State Police pension programs.

The teachers' system would receive more than five billion dollars of the money.

The governor's office did not have an immediate comment on the vote.

The defeat leaves in place a 40-year payment plan that relies on ballooning outlays from the state budget to aid the pension plans. This year's payment takes about 350 million dollars from general revenue: the final, 2034 payment is estimated at 742 million dollars _ about one-fourth of this year's budget.

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