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Barbour calls special session for state retirement program

JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour says he’s calling a special session for lawmakers to consider increasing the amount that state employees pay toward their own retirement.

The special session begins at 1 p.m. Thursday and is taking place within the regular session already under way. Barbour made the announcement less than three hours before the special session was set to begin.

He wants educators and employees of state and local governments to pay 9 percent of their paychecks toward retirement. That would be an increase from the current 7-1/4 percent.

Barbour says if the change is not made, $70 million could be lost from the state general fund to shore up the pension fund. He says that could translate into layoffs for up to 1,000 employees.

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