Lawmakers taking 3-day weekend with pensions issue still looming

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -  Kentucky lawmakers are taking a three-day weekend with the pension issue still unresolved.

 

The General Assembly will not be in session Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the long-awaited overhaul of the state's pension system could be introduced upon their return to Frankfort on Tuesday.

Thayer expressed confidence the measure will be approved.


“Senate and House Republican leaders have been working very hard on a bill that I think can pass and put us on a path to sustainability,” he said. “It’s not going to go as far as I would like it to go, but I believe it’s a very good bill.”


Thayer said Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, have kept Gov. Matt Bevin in the loop on changes that have been made to the bill.


“I think the governor recognizes that it will put us on a path to sustainability and will reduce the risk on the taxpayers, while continuing to provide a pension system for our current employees and retirees that keeps the promises made to them in the inviolable contract, while designing a new system for future employees that will ensure a good pension for them as well,” Thayer said.


How the bill will be unveiled has yet to be decided. “Let’s just say the news will be made in such a way that everyone will know about it," he said.


Stivers said earlier this week the bill is receiving final edits by legislative staffers.

 

Stivers said Wednesday a mandatory 401(k)-like plan would not be a part of the legislation.  He said lawmakers are also looking at giving new teachers a choice of various plans.


Kentucky’s public pension plans are among the most underfunded in the nation, with estimates ranging from $40 billion to $80 billion.

 

 

 

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