“You don’t pay it the first year and you don’t pay the next year and you don’t pay it the next year. It compounds fast.”

— Peter Leslie, a trustee of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System since 1995 (and currently the board’s chairman), explaining a root cause of the state’s pension liability — officially known as the “unfunded actuarial liability.” Presently, the state is $4.4 billion behind in its payments for this one program — the pension for Maine state employees and public school teachers — an amount that represents $3,385 in debt for every man, woman and child in the state.