State pension restructuring deal receives early approval

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HARTFORD — State lawmakers have given preliminary approval for a plan to restructure state pension obligations and help avoid huge payments looming in the future.

In two separate votes Tuesday, House and Senate members of the Appropriations Committee approved the agreement reached by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy‘s administration and state employee union officials. The full House and Senate are expected to vote Feb. 1.

Without this deal, Malloy has said Connecticut could see payments jump from $826 million in 2010-2011, when he first took office, to $6 billion in 2032. This plan stabilizes annual payments at approximately $2.5 billion until 2021, after which they would begin declining.

The agreement does not change pension benefits. Both Democrats and Republicans said they need to see such changes to help deal with Connecticut’s continuing budget challenges.