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Public pension rules have to be rethought

WEST Virginians may have been surprised to learn that former state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple will receive a state pension of $8,921 a month.

Her husband, former state Attorney General Darrell McGraw will draw a pension of $6,227 a month.

That's $107,052 per year for Marple and $74,724 per year for McGraw. Or $1.8 million over 10 years.

It's no reflection on Marple or McGraw that these are handsome pensions. Both have had distinguished, decades-long careers in public service.

They played by West Virginia's pension rules, and that's what the state's pension rules yield.

Many state employees do not do nearly as well.

But across the country, public pension rules have also produced multibillion-dollar shortfalls that restrict states' ability to fund roads, schools, Medicaid, mental health, public safety, prisons, etc.

The taxpayers of tomorrow are on the hook not only for $16 trillion in national debt but for an additional $2.8 trillion in unfunded state pension benefits as well.

Changing the variables that affect pension calculations would make an enormous difference to taxpayers while still being fair to public employees.

Most private employers have made adjustments that allow them to survive. States must do the same.


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