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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Public-worker pension bills threaten economy, Lingle says

Advertiser Staff

The rising cost of paying pensions for public workers threatens future economic growth in the U.S., Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday at a panel discussion during the Milken Institute's annual Global Conference in Los Angeles.

"Until the public rises up and says, 'Enough is enough, you have to stop this spending,' it won't stop, and our quality of life will degrade," Lingle said of government-paid retirement benefits, according to a Bloomberg News report.

Lingle was one of three governors discussing pensions, job creation and education issues at the conference. Also speaking were Wisconsin's Jim Doyle and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The topic was "State of the States: U.S. Governors on Navigating the New Budget Realities."

Lingle said politicians won't rein in retirement costs without prodding from voters.

"It's just a point in our history where the public has to stand up," she said. "Let's not get into a hole we can never get out of."

Lingle said people need to speak up because politicians "don't get into office to stop spending."

Bloomberg's report says U.S. public-worker retirement systems are underfunded by more than $2 trillion, according to a January estimate by Orin S. Kramer, chairman of New Jersey's State Investment Council and manager of the Boston Provident Partners hedge fund.

On the Net:

Milken Institute Global Conference: http://www.milkeninstitute.org/events/events.taf?eventid=GC10&cat=GC&id=274&function=detail