(KXNET) — On Friday, North Dakota lawmakers approved some big changes to the state’s public employee retirement plan.

House Bill 1040 closes the PERS deferred compensation plan and switches state workers to a defined contribution plan.

Right now, legislators say the PERS fund is nearly $2 billion in debt. This bill makes a $200 million lump sum payment over the next two years to begin paying down the debt.

“We have to acknowledge that the PERS defined benefit plan is a ticking fiscal time bomb and we have to have the courage today to defuse it,” Senate Majority Leader, David Hogue said.

“I do have to wonder how great an idea can be if we have to close the plan before we have to pay the true costs of it next biennium. It’s almost like we have to pass the bill to know what’s in it,” Sen. Sean Cleary from Bismarck said.

The bill includes a 1% employer increase starting next January and a 30.5% employer increase in three years.