AUGUSTA — Maine lawmakers are taking up proposals aimed at easing a looming debt in Maine’s pension system — including a bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65 for new hires.

The proposal reviewed by the Appropriations Committee today is also included in Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposal as one of several strategies to ease a looming $4.3 billion shortfall in the state retirement system.

Republican Rep. Ellie Espling of New Gloucester said the retirement change is a step toward making up the shortfall. Public employees oppose the measure.

The Appropriations Committee also took up a bill seeking to remove the constitutional requirement that the shortfall be paid by 2028. State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin asked lawmakers to “not go down that path.”

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