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Senate Approves Shakeup Of Mass. Pension System

By Johanna Kaiser, Associated Press
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(Photo credit: Andrea Courtois)

(Photo credit: Andrea Courtois)

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BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved an overhaul the state’s pension system.

The bill passed Thursday by a 24-10 vote would push back minimum retirement ages for most state and municipal employees from 55 to 60, beginning with workers hired after Jan 1, 2012. It also reduces some incentives for early retirement.

The bill would base pension benefits on the average of an employee’s five highest wage-earning years, replacing the current three-year formula.

In a concession to retirees, the measure would raise from $12,000 to $13,000 the base amount for calculating cost-of-living increases.

Supporters of the measure say it will save $5 billion over the next 30 years and reduce the state’s unfunded pension liability. The bill was opposed by many public employee unions. It now goes to the House.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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