Categories: Politics

Special Session To Fix Kentucky Pensions Unlikely, State Lawmakers Say

State legislators say a special session to discuss Kentucky’s ailing pension system probably won’t happen this year.

Gov. Matt Bevin suggested a special session to address the state’s pension in November. It’s currently one of the most underfunded systems in the nation. But during a WFPL News Special Tuesday evening, Democratic State Senator Morgan McGarvey said a special session now would waste taxpayer dollars.

“It’s possible. It shouldn’t be likely or probable, though,” McGarvey said. “We have not seen a new version of this bill. We have not seen financial scoring for this bill … I think [a special session is] a waste of taxpayer money.”

Bevin is proposing major changes to the current system — mostly phasing out the state’s use of a pension system that guarantees benefits to state retirees for life. Instead, most future state workers — including teachers — would be enrolled in 401(k)-style plans where their retirement payments would depend on how much money they and the state contribute throughout their working years.

Republican Rep. Jerry Miller, a guest on the news special, also said a special session is unlikely to happen this year. Miller said Bevin’s proposal to move toward 401(k)-style plans could remain in the bill but some of the governor’s other suggested reforms might not go through. Among them, a proposal to require current workers to pay 3 percent of their salaries to retiree health, and a plan to freeze teachers’ cost of living adjustments for five years.

“That was in the governor’s proposal and I think that’s one element that the legislature, roundly, has backed away from,” Miller said. “There’s some very narrow exceptions likely to be made. But largely, that will not be asked of teachers.”

Since Bevin revealed his 505-page pension plan, teachers and state workers have largely criticized it, saying it would cut benefits guaranteed by the current pension system. But state budget director John Chilton defended the proposal Tuesday, saying it would benefit teachers and employers.

“The money will be put in a separate account for employees and they’ll have the opportunity to guide the investment of that,” Chilton said. “The plans are portable, which is a big advantage for those who move from one employer to another … there’s lots of advantages to a 401(k)- style plan.”

Though Miller and McGarvey said a special session is unlikely, state law allows Bevin to call the session at any time. McGarvey said Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 are the only dates possibly for a special session. Legislators convene for their regular session Jan. 2.

Kyeland Jackson

Kyeland Jackson is an Associate Producer for WFPL News. He’s originally from New Albany, Indiana, but grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. He holds a bachelor's and master's degree in communication from the University of Louisville, where he wrote for the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal. He's covered a wide range of topics including politics, environment, crime and culture.

Share
Published by
Kyeland Jackson
Tags: Governor Matt BevinJohn Chiltonpensionsstate workersteachers

Recent Posts

  • Community

Louisville Continues Crackdown On Homeless Camps

The city is planning to clear out another homeless camp downtown, leaving some people who live there wondering where to…

November 19, 2018 10:00 am
  • Arts and Culture

‘What I Was Wearing’: U of L Exhibit Confronts Question Asked Of Sexual Assault Survivors

The exhibit features clothing worn by sexual assault survivors at the time of their assault, and quotes from those individuals.

November 19, 2018 7:00 am
  • Environment

Shading Out Solar: State Policies In Ohio Valley Dim Future Of Energy Jobs

A recent Consumer Reports survey found more than 75 percent of Americans support increasing renewable energy.

November 19, 2018 6:00 am
  • Politics

Bevin To Require State Contractors Promise They Don’t Boycott Israel

Similar policies have been approved in 25 other states, but federal courts have struck down measures in Arizona and Kansas…

November 18, 2018 4:59 pm
  • Commentary
  • Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit: When Your Moms Are White (And You’re Not)

Morgan Rumple was raised by a white lesbian couple who lived in a nearly all-white community.

November 17, 2018 1:16 pm
  • Politics

Supreme Court To Weigh In On Dispute Over Census Citizenship Question Evidence

The high court will weigh whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be deposed and what other evidence can be considered.

November 17, 2018 9:24 am