Politics
4:57 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Fischer, Gray Lead Call for Lawmakers To Shore Up Pension System

State and local officials, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, came together in Frankfort today to press for action to address rising pension costs. It’s a problem they described as fast approaching unsolvable.

David Draine, a senior researcher with the Pew Center on the States, made his case for adopting some or all of the recommendations made by a state pension task force.

"Without real reform, rising pension costs are going to threaten key public investments and things like education, public safety and infrastructure," Draine said.

The task force recommendations include the elimination of automatic cost of living adjustments and placing new employees in what’s called a hybrid cash balance plan, which would ensure a four percent annual return for employees but also have them assume some of the risk for market downturns.

Mayor Gray says Lexington’s pension system currently accounts for 20 percent of the annual city budget; in Louisville the number is 15 percent.

Both Fischer and Gray are also pushing lawmakers to approve a local sales tax option, which would allow citizens to vote on temporary tax increases to fund specific local programs and projects.

The officials hope events like today’s press conference will put pressure on the General Assembly to act during this year’s legislative session.