What should be done about state worker retirement benefits?

Posted July 26, 2010, at 2:17 p.m.

A potential $4 billion gap between what has been set aside for Maine state employee

pension benefits and what is needed has been garnering headlines. This unfunded liability

could haunt state budget writers for years to come. Though the problem stems from

decisions made years ago, it raises the question as to what state workers should expect in

the way of benefits. Should state employees be offered 401(k) retirement savings, with

the state matching employee contributions, with the rate of state match being adjusted

year to year? Should the state put workers on Social Security? Or should the present

pension system be retained, with adjustments in the level of benefits?