Now, Maine legislators have prepared a detailed plan for shifting state employees into Social Security and are considering whether to adopt it. They acknowledge it will not solve their problem in the short term but see long-term advantages.
Some variation on this idea could ultimately appeal to other states grappling with their own exploding pension costs and, in extreme cases, quietly looking for help from Washington. In troubled states, some employees have wondered whether they might be allowed to begin paying in and collecting from the federal system even before they have contributed a career’s worth of taxes.
The potential effect on the Social Security program is hard to estimate. Maine’s proposal would mean new members and a small additional source of payroll tax revenue for the federal system.