U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, says he will introduce legislation this year that will seek to reduce the costs of local and state government employees' retirement benefits. According to Bloomberg News, Hatch made the announcement Monday "without specifying what [the legislation] will entail."

Today, his office released a report stating that state and local governments face a $4.4 trillion pension shortfall. The report says that the shortfall "may lead to demands for a federal bailout or add to the burden on federal antipoverty programs if localities renege on promises to retirees," according to Bloomberg News' summary.

According to the report, 31 states have pension funding ratios of less than 80 percent — a mark that the report says indicates a healthy pension system — and 11 states stand to have depleted their pension fund assets by 2020. The report does not specify the states.

"The public pension crisis plaguing our nation demands a real solution," Hatch said in a press release announcing the report. "Over the coming weeks, I will be putting forward ideas to reform public pension programs in a meaningful way that doesn't leave taxpayers on the hook."

Hatch is the top ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over public pension issues.

In the video below, Hatch speaks on the Senate floor in March 2011 about the issue.