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New Commission To Study Connecticut's Unfunded Pensions

Courtesy of State Representative Jonathan Steinberg
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport speaks to the media on Tuesday about the state's new Pension Sustainability Commission.

A new panel designed to address Connecticut's unfunded pension liability met for the first time Tuesday. The pension liability has been a key factor in the state's ongoing budget deficits and is a major issue in this year's gubernatorial campaign.

Democratic State Representative Jonathan Steinberg of Westport is leading the Connecticut Pension Sustainability Commission.

He says they’ll look for ways to pay down more than $20 billion in unfunded pensions and that they may be able to make money from undervalued state-owned assets, such as hundreds of parcels of state-owned real estate.

“If this concept proves successful, we will not only regain control of our financial future, we will demonstrate to our broader audience, including investors and companies considering doing business here, that we have our house in order.”

Steinberg says the commission will also consider whether to use revenues from the Connecticut State Lottery, which currently go to the state’s general fund. He says they’d look at New Jersey, which already uses lottery revenues to pay down pension obligations.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.