HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A proposed overhaul of Montana’s public employee and teacher pension systems has gotten closer to approval in the Legislature after the state Senate advanced a pair of related measures Wednesday.
House Bills 377 and 454 aim to slightly reduce benefits while increasing contributions and were endorsed when some Republicans joined minority Democrats in advancing the plans in 30-20 and 30-19 initial votes.
The measures face a final vote in the Senate and another vote in the House to accept the Senate’s changes.
The bills ask both employees and employers to pay more into a system that faces a $4 billion projected shortfall in 30 years. Supporters say the bills will balance the pension systems, bringing stability to state finances and fixing a problem that has hounded lawmakers for years. Opponents, meanwhile, wanted to scrap the plan altogether for new employees.
Some of the money to overhaul the system comes from the state’s stream of natural resource revenue.
Both bills are backed by Gov. Steve Bullock.