The state pension funds for Arizona teachers, police officers, fire fighters and other state employees are facing a $13 billion shortage, a new study says.

State Treasurer Doug Ducey, a Republican, says the cause of the shortage is economic slowness twice in a decade.

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The Pew Center for the States put together a report detailing the problem. Brian Draine, with the Pew Center, says 34 states are in similar financial straits.

The bi-partisan Arizona Defined Contribution and Retirement Study Committee met this week to look at the issue. The committee plans to write a series of recommendations for the governor and Legislature.

Ducey, who chairs the committee, says he doesn’t have details on the plan but says something needs to be done soon.

“I think this is something that we should act on in the next year," Ducey says. "But because we are talking about pension programs that are really formulated over 30-year careers we do have some time.”

The pension fund shortage is not news to state officials. In 2001, the Legislature tried to add more money to the fund by approving the shifting of more of the funding burden to state employees, but a judge said that was unconstitutional.

Read the Pew Pension Report: View at Google Docs | Download File