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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Stakes now even higher for Detroit retirees

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 15:33 Published in National News

DETROIT (AP) - Some experts believe the time is right for serious talks aimed at solving a pension shortfall in Detroit's bankruptcy case.

Judge Steven Rhodes said Tuesday that pensions can be cut as part of an overall plan to bring Detroit out of bankruptcy.  It's a blow to more than 20,000 retirees who argue that the Michigan Constitution offers complete protection.

Most city pensioners get less than $20,000 a year.

Former bankruptcy judge Melanie Cyganowski says a settlement would bring certainty to anxious retirees. Unions acknowledge that negotiation is important but they're pledging to appeal the judge's decision.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr says he understands the hardship. But he says the city doesn't have money to shore up pension funds that are underfunded by $3.5 billion.

Missouri Senate passes tax incentives for Boeing

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:53 Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators have passed legislation offering up to $1.7 billion of incentives over two decades for Boeing to assemble a commercial airplane in St. Louis.

Senators passed the bill 23-8 Wednesday while meeting in a special session called by Gov. Jay Nixon. It now goes to the House.

Missouri is one of more than a dozen locations invited by Boeing to bid on assembling the new 777X airplane.

Most other states are crafting their proposals privately. But Nixon called a special session because he wanted to offer more incentives than currently allowed under state law.

Under Missouri's plan, the amount of incentives Boeing gets would depend on the number of jobs created.

Supporters say the Boeing project includes 2,000 to 8,000 company jobs, plus thousands of more at its suppliers.

Arizona agency seeks fine in firefighters' deaths

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:24 Published in National News

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's workplace safety agency is recommending that the state Forestry Division pay a nearly $560,000 fine in the deaths of 19 firefighters.

The citations proposed Wednesday by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health say forestry officials managing the Yarnell Hill Fire placed the protection of structures and pastureland above firefighter safety.

The proposals also say that downwind crews weren't removed when suppression became ineffective.

The safety agency is presenting the proposals to the state Industrial Commission at a meeting in Phoenix. The commission has the final say on whether the fines are imposed.

The Arizona State Forestry Division oversaw the blaze that trapped the Granite Mountain Hotshots on state land.

A separate report into the circumstances surrounding the June 30 deaths of the firefighters found communications lapses but concluded that proper procedure was followed.

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