- Associated Press - Monday, June 15, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker is calling his early retirement program a success, despite falling short of projections.

The state Retirement Board reported that 2,960 applications had been received by Friday, the last day they could be submitted.

Baker had estimated about 4,500 workers would accept incentives to take early retirement.

Baker told reporters Monday that despite the lower number, the program will help the state close an estimated $1.8 billion budget gap for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

He called the program “successful for the commonwealth and for the people involved” and said it could help avoid layoffs depending on how the budget is structured.

The 2,960 number could come down as the state weeds out those not eligible. Workers also have until June 30 to change their minds.

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