Thu February 7, 2013
State Senate Passes Pension Reform Recommendations
The Kentucky state Senate passed a bill Thursday that would reform the majority of the state's pension system, 33-5.
Senate Bill 2 reflects the recommendations of the legislative task force assigned to study possible solutions to the problem over the summer.
Cost of living adjustments would be suspended under the bill. The bill would also create a hybrid plan similar to a 401K whose rate of return would be guaranteed by the state.
The bill passed unanimously through Senate committee yesterday, though reservations were expressed by House Speaker Gregory Stumbo who said his chamber is still debating ways to handle the pension issue. Stumbo said that any legislation must contain a formula for fully funded state pensions.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Damon Thayer, a Republican of Georgetown, noted the bi-partisan support of the bill in the Senate and urged further cooperation.
"This is not a perfect bill. There are certainly other ways that this can be done," said Thayer. "But in this town and in this building, when have we ever given up the good for the sake of the perfect. This is a good bill, Mr. President," he says.
Senate Minority Floor Leader R.J. Palmer, a Democrat of Winchester, voiced his concern that the plan does not go far enough to protect the pension and retirement benefits of certain public employees, and that the Senate wasn't directly dealing with the underfunded portion of the Kentucky pension system.
"These are our future first responders, our policemen, our firefighters. Their the front line workers who assist many of our most vulnerable citizens, our senior our children, and our disabled." said Palmer.
Senate Bill 2 now moves to the Kentucky House, where it could be tweaked.