Walker: State pension changes ahead?


Gov. Walker went to Illinois Monday, in part to brag about Wisconsin’s public employee pension system. But Walker also says there may be changes ahead for the system.

A study done by the Pew Center for the States says Wisconsin is the only state with enough money set aside to meet its current obligations for pensions. Pew’s ‘solid performer’ ranking is for fiscal year 2010, before Gov. Walker and the legislature required public employees to contribute more to their state retirement funds. Last year’s budget repair bill also ordered an in-state study of the pension program. Walker says that study may prompt him to recommend additional changes.

Walker spoke to reporters in Milwaukee before leaving to give a speech to Illinois business executives, during which Walker said he planned to note funding problems with Illinois’ pension system. Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader Mark Miller says he wonders if Walker will soon try to have Wisconsin cut back its pension commitment.

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Miller says any debate over the next year should include expanding the state system to those private sector workers who have seen their pension disappear through mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies.