Our state’s pension rewards employees for their long term commitment of service to our citizens. The state must keep its promise to its employees by fixing the pension system without reducing the retirement security of state employees and teachers. Unlike private sector employees, state employees are not covered by Social Security — the state pension is their sole retirement benefit. We must fund the pension system to keep employees whole, including both the portion that would have been paid by social security and benefits comparable to employees in other states.

Funding of the teachers and college pension systems should not be transferred to school districts and our universities. Such an approach does not eliminate the cost to taxpayers, it just employs the local board as the new tax collector. Ann recognizes that placing individual school districts in the role of primary payer would mean school boards choosing between raising property taxes or cutting programs. The result would be either reducing the quality of education, or increasing increasing the burden on homeowners and small businesses. The state must step up and make good on their obligations.

Ann endorses a simple fix to fund the pension liability by amortizing the liability over a fifty year period at a set rate. This is like refinancing your mortgage to achieve a lower rate. While slightly more costly at first, it would save the state millions of dollars in the long run.