The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

November 27, 2013

Shortfall in OPEB funding slashed

Report: W.Va.’s unfunded liability was $3.57 billion at end of 2012 fiscal year

CHARLESTON — West Virginia has reduced a shortfall in funding for nonpension retiree costs by nearly half in one year, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services said in a new report.

The state’s unfunded liability for these other post-employment benefit costs, also known as OPEB, was $3.57 billion at the end of the 2012 fiscal year, down 49 percent from $7.43 billion at the end of the 2011 fiscal year, according to the report released Monday.

The 50 states’ total unfunded liability fell about 3 percent to $529 billion during the same period.

West Virginia’s per capita unfunded OPEB liability declined from $4,083 per resident during the period. Nationally, states’ total per capita unfunded OPEB liabilities declined 13 percent from $1,884 to $1,632.

West Virginia is reducing its OPEB costs, which are mostly health coverage, at a faster pace than many other states. The state has the 11th-highest OPEB funding ratio in the country, covering 11.7 percent of its projected future obligations, the report said. That’s up from 5.4 percent in the 2011 fiscal year.

West Virginia lawmakers have passed several reforms to reduce the state’s OPEB liability. One measure approved in 2012 requires that only state employees hired before June 1, 2010, can receive subsidies for retiree health benefits. The legislation codified a reform that the Public Employees Insurance Agency board had previously approved.

The bill also diverts $30 million in annual personal income tax revenue to OPEB beginning in 2016. An additional $5 million in tax revenue will be set aside for a trust fund designed to assist those state employees hired after June 1, 2010.

“If the plan that’s all in place today continues for the next 20 years, we have solved the OPEB issue,” PEIA executive director Ted Cheatham told the Charleston Daily Mail.

West Virginia is one of 30 states that has established some type of trust fund for its OPEB liabilities and is currently funding it, the report said.

Text Only
West Virginia
  • Gee’s move could save Ohio State millions

    Ohio State University expects to save millions of dollars because former president Gordon Gee is giving up part of his retirement package as he becomes president of West Virginia University for the second time.

    April 19, 2014

  • W.Va. AG court filings: Dismiss gun law question

    The attorney general says a court challenge should be dismissed over whether West Virginians can bring guns to city recreational facilities that hold school events.
    Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s filings Thursday argue the city of Charleston shouldn’t receive court guidance on how to implement a state gun law.

    April 18, 2014

  • Energy-state Dems split from Obama

    Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that’s sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.
    Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    April 17, 2014

  • Official: $2M in chemical spill costs reimbursable

    Public agencies and nonprofits that helped after a Jan. 9 chemical leak into the water supply could receive $2 million in reimbursements for their emergency work, a West Virginia homeland security official said.
    Federal and state emergency officials briefed fire departments, paramedics and other government groups Wednesday on how to recoup costs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Manchin urges mines to speak out for coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

  • Many schools already meet new mandate for breakfast

    Many West Virginia public schools have changed the way they serve breakfast to students ahead of a requirement that goes into effect in September.

    April 14, 2014

  • W.Va. grower promotes unmodified feed corn

    Lyle Tabb is hoping that his non-genetically modified corn will take off with farmers who can charge top dollar for “all natural” eggs.
    Genetically modified or GMO corn has greatly simplified the process of getting rid of weeds, but has also substantially increased the amount of a chemical call glyphosate.

    April 13, 2014

  • Geologists link small quakes to fracking

    Geologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.
    A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, said State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers. He called the link “probable.”

    April 12, 2014

  • Phares looks forward to retirement

    James Phares looked forward to the challenge and opportunity to help make a difference in a state education system under fire when he was hired in late 2012 as West Virginia’s schools superintendent.
    After 18 months, Phares will be stepping down on June 30 — which he said was set long ago as the day at age 61 that he’d walk with his wife into retirement.

    April 11, 2014

  • Teacher planning, abortion ban among W.Va. vetoes

    Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed about 200 bills and nixed eight this year, leaving teachers and abortion opponents unsatisfied.

    April 7, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads