RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing a $2.2 billion state infusion of cash into Virginia’s critically underfunded public employee pension system. Finance Secretary Ric Brown says the proposal aims in part to reassure everyone in the system that pension promises made will become promises kept.[audio:http://wfirnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/12-15-Brown-Bite1-WEB.mp3|titles=12-15 Brown Bite1-WEB]
The governor says the enormous state contribution to the Virginia Retirement System that’s now about $20 billion underfunded will be a centerpiece of the budget he delivers Monday to the General Assembly.
What McDonnell described as the largest employer contribution to the VRS in Virginia history will come from both unspecified savings and from what he hopes will be sustained modest growth in Virginia’s tax collections.
“This problem is so severe I will not pass it on to another governor,” McDonnell said.
What McDonnell would not say is whether he will demand a greater contribution from the paychecks of public employees who are part of the VRS. Last year, lawmakers rejected his proposal to require government employees to pay a share of their own retirement contributions for the first time in 27 years.
McDonnell has said publicly since then that he would likely try again to require employees to shoulder a share of their own retirement contributions.