Monday, December 1, 2008

Retirement system heads urge state to start paying off debt

The heads of two of Louisiana's state retirement programs are urging the Legislature to start using budget surpluses to pay down the ballooning debt their systems are amassing.

Cindy Rougeou, executive director of the Louisiana State Employees' Retirement System, and Maureen Westgard, director of the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana, told the Baton Rouge Press Club today it would be a fiscally sound move to start paying down the debt, which is $10 billion.

By law, the state has to pay off the debt in 2029. State Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, is pushing a bill that would allocate $600 million of the state's projected $865 million budget surplus to paying down the debt.

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