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Va.'s Retirement System May Need Larger Share of Taxpayer Dollars

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The VRS is the 22nd largest public or private pension fund in the U.S., and its diversified portfolio recently earned a return of 18.5 percent. Yet the fund is aging and is now paying out more than it's taking in.

Investment earnings fund two-thirds of the benefits, but Chief Investment Officer Charles Grant said long term gains will be volatile due to macroeconomics.

"We've had massive government policies to try to kickstart this economy. And the problem is the debt load. The problem is we still have too much debt, and we're still de-leveraging," says Grant. "And there's only so much the government can do to fix that."

Employer/employee contributions fund about one-third of the benefits. But while most states give an average of 3.8 percent of their budgets for pension contributions, Virginia's only contributes 1.6 percent of its total budget. VRS officials suggest that Virginia's trend of funding contribution rates below recommended levels will need to be reversed.


From 'Unproud' To 'Hombre,' Election 2016 Is Testing Our Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster noticed the number of unique words coming out of this campaign, and has been using Twitter to report the most searchable words. Lexicographer Peter Sokolowski talks to Rachel Martin.

A History Of Election Cake And Why Bakers Want To #MakeAmericaCakeAgain

Bakers Susannah Gebhart and Maia Surdam are reviving election cake: a boozy, dense fruitcake that was a way for women to participate in the democratic process before they had the right to vote.

Republican And Trump Critic Ana Navarro Speaks On Election

Ana Navarro has become a standard bearer for Republican women repudiating Donald Trump. NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with the GOP strategist about her view of the election, which is only 16 days away.

The Next Generation Of Local, Low-Power FM Stations Expands In Urban Areas

The next wave of low power FM stations is coming on the air. Initially restricted to rural areas because of interference concerns, nearly 2,000 new stations have been approved — many in urban areas.

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