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Virginia Assembly Eases Up On New Pension Rules

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The Virginia General Assembly has accepted Gov. Bob McDonnell's (R) amendments to bills making sweeping changes to the public employee pension system, according to the Associated Press. The State Senate and the House of Delegates yesterday approved the governor's proposal to allow cities, counties and towns five years to phase in 5 percent pay raises for teachers and local employees.

Those raises will be automatically contributed to the underfunded Virginia Retirement System. City and county leaders had asked for the amendment because they were concerned that a large, immediate increase in payroll expenses would force them to raise taxes or cut services.

Both chambers also accepted McDonnell's mostly technical changes to the bill, which also scales back retirement benefits of public employees with less than five years in the system. McDonnell recommended the unprecedented employer contributions to the state's ailing pension system in December. 

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