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State’s Pension Fund: The $3 Billion Question

06/12/12 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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AP/Toby Talbot
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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