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Policy Center Sounds Alarm On Maine’s Pension Debt 

A conservative think tank was in Augusta on Thursday releasing a report on what they say is a fiscal crisis facing the state. Members of the Portland-based Maine Heritage Policy Center met with the media today to talk about unfunded pensions for retired state workers and teachers.The center’s Executive Director Tarren Bragdon says in order for lawmakers to work on this issue, they must first understand the scope of the problem. Last month state treasurer Bruce Poliquin said the pension benefit debt will cost taxpayers $450-million in the next fiscal year. “There is no doubt. Maine’s unfunded government employee pension system is bankrupting our future,” Bragdon. “Without reform Maine’s families face crumbling roads, failing schools, a broken healthcare safety net, and even higher taxes.”The Maine constitution says the unfunded retirement benefits must be paid off by 2028. One solution being considered is an amendment to the constitution to push that deadline back. Bragdon says that’s a bad idea because it would only transfer the burden on to future generations.