The heads of the two largest public pension funds in Louisiana said this week that the state should use a large part of its $865 million surplus from fiscal 2008 to help reduce $10 billion of unfunded retirement debt.

Speaking to the Press Club of Baton Rouge, Cindy Rougeou, executive director of the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System, and Maureen Westgard, director of the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana, said the state’s retirement obligations will take an increasing portion of available funds. Money spent to retire the debt takes funds away from roads and schools, they said.

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