A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Regional universities send letter supporting Bevin’s proposed pension bill; questions remain

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Gov. Matt Bevin has received support for his proposed pension reform bill from one of the groups who would be affected the most if it passes. 
A letter has been sent to all members of the General Assembly, signed by six of the seven presidents of Kentucky’s regional public universities, as well as the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, urging them to...

Public Pension discussion continues; actuarial consultant says systems needs another $214 million

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Public Pension Oversight Board heard from the Kentucky Retirement Systems and their actuarial consultant on recommendations for changes in the factors used to determine how much state funding will be needed for the state’s public pension systems over the next two years. 
Danny White with GRS Retiring Consultants, said Monday retirees are living longer, so the mortality...

Teachers, public employees rally at State Capitol with U Hauls; dominant theme: ‘Remember in November’

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today “Remember in November” was the dominant theme during a rally by teachers and other public employees, along with labor officials, at the State Capitol Saturday. 
The purpose of the rally, according to the Kentucky Public Pension Coalition, which was one of the sponsors, “was to show legislators that we haven’t forgotten about their votes against public pensions.” One...

A look at some of the new laws passed during the Kentucky General Assembly 2018 regular session

The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 regular session ended Saturday evening, capping off a session in which lawmakers approved the state’s next two-year budget and numerous other measures that will affect people throughout the state. Most new laws – those that come from legislation that don’t contain emergency clauses or different specified effective dates – will go into effect in mid-July. A...

This week in Frankfort: Pension bill delayed as it’s sent back to committee; other bills in the works

Capitol observers have been tuned in for months to find out what form lawmakers’ public pension reform plans might take and how legislators would cast their first votes on the issue.   They got some answers as Senate Bill 1 advanced through a Senate committee this week.   On Wednesday, the latest version of proposed pension was approved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee on a  7-4...

KRTA: SB1, House budget proposal dynamic duo of smoke and mirrors, increase burden on teachers

By Romanza Johnson Kentucky Retired Teachers Association Put yourself in the shoes of a typical Kentucky schoolteacher for a moment. Romanza Johnson You’ve spent the past 30 years teaching in the classroom, averaging 20 to 30 children in your class each year. Because some of your students’ families can’t afford it, you selflessly purchase materials and supplies out of your own pocket. You spend...

Commentary: Chambers, including Commerce Lex, support basic provisions of Senate Bill 1 on pensions

With a major pension reform bill moving through the legislative process, we write on behalf of Kentucky’s business community in strong support of the basic provisions of Senate Bill 1 and commend our state leaders for addressing this issue that has long plagued our state. Kentucky has one of the worst funded public employee pension systems in the country. In other words, the state doesn’t have...

House passes two-year budget plan with help for pensions, historic SEEK funding, some new taxes

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a funding package with cigarette and opioid taxes and increased funding for SEEK and public pensions by a vote of 84-8. The total spending plan is about $22.5 billion for the next two fiscal years, which begins July 1. The two-year budget plan, presented on the House Floor by Appropriations & Revenue Chairman Rep. Steven Rudy, is a comprehensive plan...

The Week in Frankfort: Public pensions, dyslexia, terrorism, pawn shops, sex trafficking and more

The most-anticipated bill of the General Assembly’s 2018 session was unveiled this week with the introduction of a public pension reform bill in the Senate. The proposal is different in significant ways than the one that was unveiled last fall. Perhaps most significantly, the new plan does not call for moving public employees into a defined contribution 401 (k) –style system. Though some policymakers...

Legislative leaders say progress being made on agreement to shore up public pensions

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Legislative leaders gave no details on a public pension reform plan, saying there is more work to be done before a special session is called. House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, did say they are much closer than three weeks ago. “I would hope that over the next week or 10 days, we would be closer to where we would be in position to make some public announcement. We’re...

Dorsey Ridley: Kentucky’s public pension faces very real challenges not met by switching to 401k plans

While I appreciate the Governor’s efforts to address Kentucky’s pension challenges, I fear the proposals would only enhance our problems further. Kentucky’s public pensions face very real challenges, but imploding the pension systems that provide benefits promised, and legally protected, to our current and retired public employees — city, county, state, teachers and other school staff —...

Jason Bailey: Proposed 401ks cost more than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit pension plans

The 401k-type defined contribution (DC) plans proposed by PFM in their final report would cost more than Kentucky’s existing defined benefit (DB) plans, according to data from PFM itself and the systems’ actuaries. Under a switch, the state would pay more for a plan that reduces the retirement security of its workers. PFM’s proposed DC plan would require employees to make a minimum three percent...

Local governments facing major increases in pension contributions unless Legislature acts, Chilton says

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Local governments in Kentucky would pay 50 to 60 percent more next year to fund pensions for workers, unless the General Assembly acts, according to an email to local officials from State Budget Director John Chilton. Without changes by lawmakers to the state’s wobbly pension system, local governments will have to make payments into the County Employees Retirement System...

Legislative leaders say roll back of cost of living adjustments unlikely to be part of pension proposal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The leaders in the General Assembly said it is not likely that lawmakers will take away cost-of-living adjustment previously given to retirees as part of the overhaul of the Kentucky pension system for public workers. Eliminating the cost-of-living adjustments that state and local government retirees received between 1996 and 2012 was one of the more controversial proposals...

House members go behind closed doors to discuss controversial public pension proposal

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky House members got their first look at the consultant’s report on reforming Kentucky’s troubled public pension plan during a two-hour, closed-door meeting in Frankfort on Tuesday. A report by PFM Group Consulting suggested moving new state government hires to a 401-K type retirement, putting new teachers on the Social Security system, and making those on hazardous...

Poll finds support among Kentuckians for pensions; 86 percent say all workers should have access

Eighty-six percent of Kentuckians say that all workers, not just those in the public sector, should have a pension plan according to new polling results released last week by the National Institute on Retirement Security. These findings are consistent with national polling conducted earlier this year by NIRS that found 86 percent of Americans say all workers should have access to a pension plan. The...

Legislative Briefs: Measures on public pensions, construction of new veterans’ nursing home advance

A bill that could slow the financial hemorrhaging of the state’s public pension systems by improving system transparency and performance advanced Thursday after passing the Kentucky House 99-0. Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, would provide better oversight of those serving on state retirement system boards, tighten requirements for investment experience, and hold retirement...