HELENA – The Bullock administration’s two bills attempting to fix Montana’s financially troubled government pension systems won approval in committee Friday.
On identical 14-7 votes, the House Appropriations Committee endorsed House Bill 454 by Rep. Bill McChesney, D-Miles City, and HB377 by Rep. Tom Woods, D-Bozeman, that address the Public Employees’ Retirement System and Teachers’ Retirement System, respectively.
Montana’s pension systems face a combined potential shortfall of $4.3 billion, in large part because of investment losses from the 2008-09 recession and the Legislature’s failure to provide the necessary contribution annually to maintain the funds’ finances.
The committee passed the bills after hearings on them earlier in the day in which the bills were endorsed by Gov. Steve Bullock’s budget director, Dan Villa, unions, public employers and others. The measures will go back to the House, which endorsed both of them in a preliminary vote Thursday, for additional action.