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Vermont treasurer: State pension system facing touch choices

January 22, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The state of Vermont is facing difficult choices to help resolve shortages in the pension system for state employees and teachers, the state’s treasurer says.

The fund is now short $600 million, State Treasurer Beth Pearce said. To save the fund from insolvency Pearce is suggesting reducing cost-of-living adjustments for retired state employees and eliminating them for retired teachers, WCAX-TV reported.

“Number one, they’re painful and we recognize that. We would love to have something else to report,” Pearce said.

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Don Tinney, the president of the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association, said many teachers depend on the benefits.

“Pay more to get less is not part of the bargain we signed up for,” Tinney said.

Pearce said an alternative would be for lawmakers to add $96 million to the fund, but that might be a hard sell in a tight budget year.

The retirement fund has been an area of concern for some time, but the situation worsened this year after the retirement of an unusually large number of teachers, due to organizational changes and the pandemic.