Montana Pension Funds Show $1.4B Funding Shortfall

October 13, 2005 ( - The state of Montana's public pension funds for teachers and other state and local government employees now have a combined $1.4-billion funding shortfall, according to new actuarial reports.

The report by Milliman Consultants and Actuaries shows that the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System has a funding shortfall of $903.3 as of June 30, up 19.2% from a year earlier, according to a news report in the Helena Independent Record. Meanwhile, the Public Employee Retirement System’s potential shortfall rose to $522.6 million on June 30, an increase of 15.3% over last year, the actuaries found.

Governor Brian Schweitzer already has committed to spend $125 million of the one-time money in the state’s general fund surplus to help address the problems (See Montana Governor Promises to Help Public Pension Systems ), his budget director, David Ewer told the newspaper. “We’re committed to addressing this at the special session,” Ewer told the newspaper. “It’s one of the administration’s highest priorities.”

David Senn, executive director of the Teachers Retirement System, said the increased potential shortfall comes as no surprise. According to the Independent Record report, the fund still suffers from “abnormal” drops in its assets in the stock market, where its funds are invested by the Board of Investments.

Mike O’Connor, executive director of the state’s Public Employee Retirement Administration, said his agency also is working with the governor to help address the potential deficits in three of the eight pension funds it oversees.