Debt paydown ensures that a pension is a promise

Our state is home to more than 64,000 State of Alaska retirees. We appreciate their service to our great state. From teachers to troopers, many retirees receive a state pension, one that was promised by the state in the past.

We have taken a big step in securing those pension promises. This session, my administration proposed, and the Legislature unanimously passed, the largest pay down of pension debt in Alaska history, fixing our unfunded liability that had threatened the state’s retirement plans.

In paying down $3 billion of Alaska’s pension debt now, we are ensuring that future generations are not saddled with this debt, while giving retirees the confidence that their pensions from state and local governments remain a promise fulfilled. By transferring $1 billion into the Public Employees’ Retirement System and $2 billion into the Teachers’ Retirement System from budget reserves, the state will be able to make lower annual payments to the pension plan and better control state spending.

We honor our commitments to public sector retirees, a commitment that other states and large cities in the Lower 48 have been unable to keep because they have failed to act. Paying down the state retirement system debt ensures that both your retirement and vital state services will continue to be delivered into the future.