Posted: Jun 12, 2012 6:40 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN Helena
HELENA - With a $3.4 billion budget shortfall, the state's retirement funds for teachers and public employees are insolvent.
The unfunded liability for public pensions is about half of the annual spending for all state government services.
Tuesday, lawmakers looked at different ways to fix the problem, including increasing employer and employee contributions, reducing benefits, changing plans for new hires or having the state pay the liability.
If the state asked public employers to pay more, school districts, cities and counties would have to increase property taxes to make up the balance.
The Legislature could also decide to use the state's general fund money to pay for the pensions.
Changing the pension plan for new hires would not address the current funding shortfall.
Lawmakers will most likely bring a budget bill before the next legislative session.