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State Treasurer Addresses Maine’s Debt 

Maine’s new treasurer spoke out in Augusta Wednesday about the state debt, specifically the unfunded retirement benefits for teachers and state workers.Bruce Poliquin told reporters the pension benefit debt will cost taxpayers $450,000,000 in the next fiscal year.He said this portion of the state’s debt is unsustainable and the problem will require bi-partisan support to solve. “If we do not address this growing problem. Our Legislators will increasingly be forced between best educating our kids, taking care of those that are our most needy among us, paving our roads, or paying for the retirement benefits of our teachers or our state workers,” He said Wednesday. Poliquin said the political will now exists in Augusta to fix the fiscal problems the state now faces.House Minority Leader Emily Cain responded to the treasurer’s remarks saying this problem is not new. Cain agrees it will take a joint effort to find the solution. “There is no silver bullet fix,” Cain said. “This is not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of work. It’s going to be important to build on the work that’s already in place. Now that we have a new treasurer he can be a part of that.”The Maine constitution says the unfunded retirement benefits have to be paid off by 2028. The Governor’s two-year budget is expected to be released next month.