Local News
3:23 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Officials Discuss Pension Reform at Forum Luncheon

Shoring up Kentucky’s public pension funds was the focus of the monthly Louisville Forum meeting today.

The funds need billions of dollars to meet their obligation to retirees, and a legislative task force has been studying ways to bring them into solvency. The panel will submit its findings to the 2013 Kentucky General Assembly.

LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner, who’s also president-elect of the Kentucky Association of Counties, says his group favors the idea of a state bond issue to help pay down the pension debt, but only because interest rates are historically low.

"I don’t like the idea of issuing debt to pay debt, but there are the rare instances and rare circumstances where the debt you issue will be at a level lower that what you can gain on the return over the long term," he said.

But legislative leaders in Frankfort have all but rejected the idea of borrowing money to help fund the system.

Lawmakers could also consider a combination of fixes, including a temporary end to cost of living adjustments for retirees, switching to a 401K style plan or reducing benefits for future pensioners.

Also on the Forum panel were Kentucky Retirement Systems Executive Director Bill Thielen, Louisville Fraternal Order of Police President David Mutchler and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Director of Public Affairs Chad Harpole.