Opinion

Can state continue to afford ‘Cadillac’ pension plans?

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram 

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Since the early 1990s, state government has been dealing with how to fund the nine different state worker pension plans.

In some ways, the news is better for some plans. For instance, as the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Sunday, the teachers retirement system is now 66.2 percent funded.

 Granted, it remains the worst funded of state workers pension plans, but as theGazette-Mail pointed out, “the state has dramatically improved the system since 1991, when it was only 9 percent funded.”

But what state leaders haven’t improved is the type of pension plans offered.

In the state’s defined benefit plans, the bulk of the funding burden is placed on taxpayers instead of the employees, especially when the plan allows recipients to draw their pension based on the highest average salary over the final years of employment.

The Gazette-Mail reported there are 165 retired state employees who earn more than $80,000 per year in state pensions, including 40 who make more than $100,000…

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