By James Brooks
Source: Alaska Beacon
The Alaska Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to revive a pension program for state employees, an act that could bring new benefits to as many as 37,000 Alaskans and is intended to ease a chronic employee shortage at state agencies.
Alaska has been without a public-employee pension program for new workers since 2006, when the Alaska Legislature abolished it in favor of a 401(k)-like program in which benefits are not guaranteed.
Subsequent data has shown that new employees are now much less likely to remain in the state and frequently earn less money toward their retirement than employees who receive pensions. Compounding the problems, most Alaska teachers are ineligible for Social Security or the supplemental program intended to replace its benefits.