(KXNET) — The most contentious political fight of the day discussed changing North Dakota’s state employee pension fund.

State representatives voted on Wednesday to close the deferred compensation plan under ND PERS and replace it with a defined contribution plan.

Legislators say the pension fund is currently running nearly a $2 billion debt. House Bill 1040 would make a $310 million deposit in state money over the next two years to help pay down the debt.

House appropriations leaders say if investment returns fall short, NDPERS could run out of money in as little as 30 years.

“It’s easy to say I’m going to vote no for this reason or that reason,” said Representative Mike Lefor. “The tough choice is to vote yes and to put cash infusion in and address this problem now.”

“Right now, we have approximately half of the number of people currently paying in than are withdrawing benefits,” stated Representative Corey Mock. “That number will tip. We’ll have more retirees than members.”

If passed in the Senate, the bill would also pay another $70 million toward the debt in the 2025- 2027 biennium.