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McDonnell Calls For $2.21B In Contributions For State Pensions

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Virginia governor Bob McDonnell is calling for the largest employer contributions to the state's pension system in history. McDonnell says his biennial budget proposal will recommend a total of $2.2 billion in employer contributions to the Virginia Retirement System, which is currently said to be underfunded by $20 billion.

The governor says the system is underfunded -- a situation that threatens its long-term solvency. During the recession -- Virginia's general assembly dramatically lowered the required contribution rates for employers such as school districts.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Dale says the Governor's proposal makes sense, and fortunately the county has a reserve fund of $60 million dollars set aside because they knew this day was coming

"We're probably okay for one year, but we'll then have to look at the consequences of this decision in subsequent years -- it's still probably the right thing to do in terms of fiscal stability for the retirement system," says Dale.

The reserve fund means school district and county leaders won't have to ask the taxpayers to help pay for the higher pension contribution rate, but that could change after this year.

NPR

'Game Of Thrones' Evolves On Women In Explosive Sixth Season

The sixth season of HBO's Game of Thrones showed a real evolution in the way the show portrays women and in the season finale, several female characters ascended to power. NPR's Kelly McEvers talks to Glen Weldon from NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour and Greta Johnsen, host of the Nerdette podcast, about the show.
NPR

In Quest For Happier Chickens, Perdue Shifts How Birds Live And Die

Perdue Farms, one of the largest poultry companies in the country, says it will change its slaughter methods and also some of its poultry houses. Animal welfare groups are cheering.
WAMU 88.5

Jonathan Rauch On How American Politics Went Insane

Party insiders and backroom deals: One author on why we need to bring back old-time politics.

WAMU 88.5

Episode 5: Why 1986 Still Matters

In 1986, a federal official issued a warning: If Metro continued to expand rapidly, the system faced a future of stark choices over maintaining existing infrastructure. Metro chose expansion. We talk to a historian about that decision. We also hear from a former Metro general manager about the following years, and from an Arlington planner about measuring how riders are responding to SafeTrack.

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