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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.

NPR

'The Innocent Have Nothing To Fear' Echoes Real-Life Republican Race

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Stuart Stevens, a former strategist for Mitt Romney, whose new novel, The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear, tells the story of a neck-and-neck Republican primary campaign that ends up at a brokered convention.
WAMU 88.5

How History Influences Diets In D.C. And Around The World

Kojo and chef Pati Jinich look at how history -- and famous names like El Chico, Azteca and even Fritos -- shaped modern Mexican-American cooking in the Washington region and beyond.

WAMU 88.5

Implications Of The Supreme Court's Immigration Ruling

Many undocumented immigrants are living in fear after a Supreme Court ruling effectively barred deferred deportation for 4 million people. What the ruling means for families across the country and how immigration policy is playing out in 2016 election politics.

NPR

Click For Fewer Calories: Health Labels May Change Online Ordering Habits

Will it be a hamburger or hummus wrap for lunch? When customers saw indications of a meal's calorie content posted online, they put fewer calories in their cart, a study finds.

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