State’s Pension Fund: The $3 Billion Question

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Vermont has an
unfunded liability of $3 billion for its pension fund and health care expenses
for retired state employees and teachers. It’s a staggering number that
averages almost $5,000 of debt for every person in the state. While some are
alarmed at the size of the liability, the state says it is working to reduce
the figure. And some studies say Vermont’s
pension liability is among the least-onerous in the country.

State Treasurer Beth Pearce and David Coates, who served on the Commission
on the Design and Funding of Retirement and Retiree Health Benefits Plans for
State Employees and Teachers, look at how Vermont’s liability grew to this
magnitude and discuss ways the state can fully fund its pension responsibilities.


Also
on the program, in January, a patient at Brattleboro Retreat died of a drug
overdose while undergoing psychiatric treatment. This coincided with the move
to include the facility in the state’s decentralized community mental health
plan. VTDigger‘s Anne Galloway provides an update on the circumstances of the
patient’s death and the state and federal investigation that followed.

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