Rell, a Republican, is proposing to spend an additional $245.6 million from this year’s state budget surplus, estimated at $661 million, to make full payments to the fund for this fiscal year and next, according to reports from the Associated Press. This figure has already won approval by Democrats in state’s Appropriations Committee last month.
The teachers’ pension fund contains an estimated $11.3 billion, but Rell’s proposal falls far short of the $5.2 billion state officials say the fund will need .
“We owe it to our teachers and our taxpayers to fully finance this retirement obligation,” Rell said in a written statement . “At a time when we have a surplus of over $600 million, this is the fiscally and morally responsible thing to do.”
Rell’s offering comes as she and lawmakers try to reach an agreement on a revised tax and spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, but the deadline to make these changes is fast approaching, as the legislative session closes on May 3.