"This is the single largest issue of our generation," Loftis said at a brunch meeting of the
Loftis said the pension debt has grown by billions of dollars over the past couple decades, much of it due to rising interest payments, costly fund management fees and poorly performing investments.
An estimated 550,000 state and municipal employees and retirees are part of the state retirement system, which has about
State officials have said no current employees or retirees are in danger of losing any earned retirement benefits.
To help shore up the fund, a joint House-Senate pension study committee has proposed raising employer contributions from 11.6 percent to 18.6 percent in the main plan by 2022; lowering the expected rate of return on investments from 7.5 percent to 7 percent or lower; and shortening the period of time that debt is financed from 30 years to 20 years.
A bill known as the Retirement System Funding and Administration Act is making its way through the Legislature.
The State newspaper has reported that roughly 850 taxpayer-supported employers -- including state agencies, school districts, local governments, colleges and hospitals -- would contribute increasingly more through 2023.
Loftis said even with those changes, the pension system will still be underfunded. He said the state is still paying
Loftis did not specify what changes he would recommend to the Legislature.
"This year, stop the bleeding," Loftis responded. "We've got to be more hopeful, more involved. We need more business people (in the Legislature). The
As treasurer, Loftis manages more than
Earlier this year, Loftis, who has long railed against the pension system's failings, was removed by a House-Senate panel from the
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