By Dale Kasler
Published: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 21, 2013 – 7:48 am

Lawmakers began confronting a multibillion-dollar budget headache Wednesday that’s been looming for years: the funding gap at the state teachers’ pension fund.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office called on lawmakers to erase a $73 billion shortfall at the California State Teachers’ Retirement System over the next 30 years, saying any delay in dealing with the pension fund’s finances will translate into higher costs down the road.

“This is more costly the longer that we wait,” LAO analyst Ryan Miller told a joint Assembly-Senate hearing on CalSTRS funding.

Legislators vowed to deal with the problem, though they indicated it will take time to find a solution.

“We will come up with a strategy,” said state Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, chairman of the Public Employment and Retirement Committee.

CalSTRS gets a combined $5.7 billion a year from the state, teachers and school districts. The LAO wants contributions to increase by a total of $4.5 billion a year, starting in 2014.

To read entire story, click here.