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?