A take a look at how Kentucky’s push to repair its pension drawback unfolded.
Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal
FRANKFORT – After trading blame with Gov. Matt Bevin over the failed pension reform special session just before Christmas, legislative leaders have been able to buckle down.
They have been able to tackle Kentucky’s pension disaster within the regular legislative session that opened in January.
They created the Public Pensions Working Group, made up of 14 lawmakers, directing it to review the state’s pension plans and make reform suggestions as early as Feb. 15.
However when what was to be the “pension session” all however ended Thursday night time, one concern was manifestly missing from the listing of accomplished payments.
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Because it turned out, lawmakers took no action to scale back the almost $43 billion in unfunded liabilities inside the state’s eight public retirement plans.
One pension-associated bill did move, but lawmakers are nonetheless deadlocked on it. It might give aid to quasi-governmental groups, together with local well being departments, who argue they could have to close their doorways if pressured to pay greater pension prices to the state starting July 1.
In the meantime, critics warn that bills that did move this session will truly impair the state’s potential to fund pensions in the subsequent price range.
Those actions embrace approving a basket of tax breaks that may value the state about $one hundred and five million in annual income, borrowing $seventy five million to restore state parks, and promising to spend tens of millions of dollars beginning next yr on faculty safety.
Of the pension concern, Home Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, stated Thursday night time: “It’s an incredibly troublesome concern that we’ve been wrestling with for a long time … It was very, very troublesome to get to where we have been last yr. And when that didn’t finally end in decision, it opened up your complete dialog once more.”
Lawmakers will now reconvene for the session’s remaining day on March 28, once they hope to arrive at an settlement on the way to assist the health departments, psychological health centers, regional state universities and different entities begging for pension aid.
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As for the general structural reform of pension advantages — perhaps one thing just like final yr’s bill that handed into regulation but was struck down by the courts for procedural reasons — Bevin must call lawmakers again for a special session.
Otherwise, it should wait till subsequent yr’s common session.
The governor’s office has not replied to several emails prior to now week looking for comment about…