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Minneapolis officials hoping for legislation to merge pensions

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Minneapolis city officials hope the Legislature will pass a bill in the final days of the session that could save the city's taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. 

The legislation would merge two closed city police and firefighter pension funds with larger state funds. City council member Betsy Hodges said the merger would shrink the city's pension levy starting next year. She said the savings would be used to ease city property taxes. 

"In spite of the fact that the city didn't need to financially strike any agreement with the fully funded MFRA, the fire relief association, the levy for the two funds will be less in 2012 than it would have been without an agreement," Hodges said. "But there are many balls in the air right now at the legislature that are having an impact on Minneapolis property taxes."

Hodges is referring to a Republican budget proposal that would phase out state aid for Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth over the next several years. City officials say aid cuts would force them to raise property taxes.