The Montana Legislature is considering two draft bills that would address the state pension plans' unfunded liability, according to state Sen. Bill Tash, chairman of the State Administration and Veterans' Affairs Interim Committee that is reviewing both of the drafts. The proposals call for using roughly $112 million from the state's projected budget surplus.
Earlier this year, state officials estimated that the plans, with combined assets of $6.2 billion, were underfunded by about $1.4 billion, although some now believe that figure could be lower.
Mr. Tash said committee members unanimously supported the proposals when they were discussed at a Nov. 4 meeting, and the committee will vote on the draft bills at a meeting Nov. 30. "I don't see any substantial change in the vote," he said.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer might call a special legislative session in mid-December, when the pension issue could be addressed. However, it would be difficult to get the draft bills on the agenda for the special session even if the interim committee does approve them, according to Mr. Tash.
Carroll South, executive director of the Helena-based Montana Board of Investments, which oversees investment of pension fund assets, was unavailable for comment by press time.