State surplus is a myth!
I have written numerous stories on this subject in the past year and it's still a big issue that the 2013 Legislature may or may not take action on.
The State of Montana has an estimated revenue surplus of around 493-million dollars, but some State lawmakers and now a Republican Candidate for governor say it's not really a surplus when, over here in this corner, the State has un unfunded liability of 4-billion or more in the Public employee retirement system and teachers retirement fund.
In an interview with Rick Hill, the Republican candidate for Governor, he says the liability may be even much bigger since the invested money's rate of return is anticipated at 7-percent but last year returned only 2.25-percent.
Just last week, Governor Brian Schweitzer blamed former Governor (Republican) Judy Martz and the rest of the Republicans for ruining the system when they reduced employee contributions from 3-percent to 1.5-percent. Rick Hill, however, points out that the Senate passed that bill 50-0 and the House passed
it 97-3, so blaming Republicans and the Martz administration is very misleading. Rick Hill did say that when all is said and done, employees and employers are going to have to pay more into the system. He also said he might favor making the system more of "hybrid plan," focused on defined contributions rather than defined benefits.
Hear the entire interview we did with Hill on This, That & The other, Thurs. morning starting at 9:10 am.