Republican candidate for State Treasurer Cole McNary says if elected, he would take control of underfunded liabilities in Missouri, especially state pensions. He is criticizing his opponent, Treasurer Clint Zweifel, for voting against increasing state funding for employee pensions, and says Missouri’s public pensions are underfunded.

McNary says the Missouri State Employee Retirement System investments earned just over 2 percent last year and the state needs to set the assumed rate of return lower than the current 8 percent.

Last week, Treasurer Zweifel cast the lone dissenting vote against increasing the state’s contribution to the fund. When asked if he would have voted yes, McNary says yes … maybe.

McNary says he’d produce a study on public pensions within 60 days of being elected to office.

He said overall, the state needs to look at lower investment returns, rising benefit payments and the fact that increasing the state’s contribution each year is a growing burden on taxpayers.

While McNary is critical of Zweifel, he agrees with Zweifel what Zweifel said last week — that the state needs to be realistic and set the rate of return at lower than 8 percent.