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Political, popular obstacles block pension changes

Detroit

FILE - In this July 19, 2013 file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, right, and state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr leave a news conference in Detroit after addressing the city's bankruptcy. The decision to make Detroit the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection was tough to make, but it was the right one, Snyder said Sunday, July 21, 2013, as he and Orr made the television talk show rounds. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

DETROIT, Mi. (WKYT) - Detroit's bankruptcy is casting a shadow over a long list of cities facing similar challenges of changing populations, waning industries, crushing debt and surging pension costs. But it's also giving mayors new urgency in the search for solutions to long-standing fiscal problems.

Pensions top the list. Detroit's emergency manager has proposed creating a new 401(k)-style retirement system, an idea floated in other cities along with proposals to reduce benefits and eliminate pension increases.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants big changes to the pension system covering city employees, but so far he's failed to get state lawmakers to go along.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says that to her, the lesson of Detroit is that cities can no longer afford to put off tough solutions to complicated problems.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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