Public Pension Battle

New Mexico – State government employees and educators could have to work longer before retiring and pay more into their retirement plans under proposals to shore up New Mexico's pension finances.

The state's two pension funds have suffered a 14 percent or $3 billion drop in asset values since 2007 when financial markets nose-dived.

Investment earnings are critical for pensions to bridge the gap between money from payroll contributions and liabilities for benefits to current and future retirees.

Sen. John Sapien, a Corrales Democrat, says there is not only urgency, but extreme urgency that lawmakers do something with the pension plans to sustain them.

Sapien says as the Legislature goes forward, he hopes plan participants understand the situation is gloomy.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.