New Jersey Senate President Michael Sweeney called on the federal government to provide $1 trillion of low-interest loans to states with large unfunded pension liabilities.

"Pension responsibilities have become a financial crisis for states throughout the country, with mounting debts and underfunded obligations that are growing beyond the reach of state budgets," Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said in a July 29 statement. "This program would be more affordable for the states."

Sweeney referenced a report earlier this month by the Washington think tank Pew Charitable Trusts that pegged the combined shortfall of all 50 states at $1 trillion in 2013. the latest for which data was available.

Federal involvement would keep the problem from worsening, according to Sweeney.

Hummelstown, Pa., actuary and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research senior fellow Richard Dreyfuss criticized the proposal, calling it "the ultimate pension obligation bond."

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