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Associated Press, Published January 22 2011

Pension shakeup: Bill would close ND plans for teachers, state and local government workers

BISMARCK, N.D. -- One North Dakota legislator says the

state's pension troubles are the start of a big, expensive problem.

The North Dakota House's Government and Veterans Affairs

Committee is looking at bills to close state pension funds to newly

hired workers.

The funds cover public school teachers and state and local

government workers. Instead, new employees would be put into

savings plans, similar to 401(k) accounts, to put aside retirement

money.

Minot Rep. Scott Louser compares the situation to putting gas in

a broken-down car, when the car needs overhauling.

But teachers say the guaranteed pension benefit is a good lure

for new teachers.

Dickinson State University student teacher Matt Quintus says

North Dakota's teachers already have low pay, and the existing

pension system helps make up for it.