Charleston, W.Va. (AP) -- The future of subsidizing public retiree health benefits is coming up for a vote.
The finance board for the Public Employees Insurance Agency meets Thursday, in the wake of public hearings held across the state to air the subsidy question.
Those who advocate stopping the subsidies for future hires cite the $18 billion funding gap projected if the state continues to pay subsidies without any changes.
But employee groups warn that ending subsidies will only worsen efforts to recruit and keep quality teachers, troopers and other workers.
Board members voted earlier to halt subsidies for employees hired after this year.
They then held off a final decision to allow public input, but may still face a legal challenge over its handling of the issue.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)