(11/23/2002)
West Virginia's unfunded liabilities (debt) has reached $7-8 billion dollars across state agencies, causing Gov. Bob Wise to cut budgets next year at least 10% and warn layoffs are likely.

The most recent bad news is the increase in the debt of the Workman's Compensation Fund, reaching $2.4 billion.

About 40 West Virginia State Troopers descended last week on the Consolidated Retirement Board, and the board transferred the pension fund of 140 troopers into an original retirement program, increasing the state's debt by $100 million. Legislative leaders said they may challenge the decision in court, since the fund was changed in order to help the retirement program stay in the black.

Troopers, most now unionized, were shifted back to the original program which allows them to retire at 50, paying nine percent of their salary.

The teacher's retirement program has the largest unfunded liability of $4.1 billion.

Numerous other programs have shortfalls.


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