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Lawmakers Approve Mass. Pension Bill

The Massachusetts Legislature has approved an overhaul of the state's pension system that would raise the minimum retirement age for future state employees to 60.

The compromise bill was accepted Tuesday by the Senate on a 27-10 vote and later on a 149-0 vote in the House.

The measure aims to save $5 billion over the next 30 years and reduce the state's $17 billion unfunded pension liability. Backers also say it will help preserve the state's credit rating, which was recently upgraded by Standard & Poor's.

"It's a positive step," said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer. "On the other hand, the pension legislation applies only to new hires, so it won't have any short-term impact of any significance."

The compromise adopts a Senate plan to raise the minimum state retirement age from 55 for employees hired after next April. An earlier House version set 57 as the minimum retirement age.

The wide-ranging legislation also slightly increases the base amount for calculating cost-of-living increases for state workers.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on November 15, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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