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State police and fire pension plans underfunded

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pension plans for local police and fire departments in West Virginia have the assets to cover only 20 percent of their estimated benefits.

This is despite better than expected investment growth which saw assets grow at more than 2.5 times their expected rate of return during fiscal year 2011.

The pension plans are run by local municipalities and their levels of funding vary widely. For example, the pension plans for Charleston's police and fire departments, by far the largest in the state, are funded at only about 7 percent of their liabilities. The pension plan for Oak Hill's much smaller police department is over funded, with assets totaling 109 percent of liabilities. The pension plans' actuaries addressed the Legislature's pension committee on Tuesday.


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