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Researcher: Montana pension shortfalls now $3.9B

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A researcher says shortfalls in Montana's pensions for teachers and public employee have reached $3.9 billion.

Pew Center on the States senior researcher David Draine says Montana must change how it manages the pensions or the debt owed to today's workers may never be paid.

Figuring out how to fix Montana's public pension systems is expected to be a major issue facing the 2013 Legislature.

Lee Newspapers State Bureau reports Draine told the Legislative Finance Committee Tuesday the problem will only grow larger the longer the state waits.

Tom Schneider of the Montana Public Employees Association says the state doesn't have to put in all the money now to fix the system because it's funded over a 30-year period.

But he says adjustments should have been made four years ago.