It appears that pension reform will continue to fall by the wayside as the Kentucky Legislature enters its final days of the 2018 regular session.
“These are some of the voices that we’re hearing from the not-so-silent majority,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a Saturday video post on his Facebook page in which he read the concerns of Kentucky teachers. “If we don’t fix [the pension system], if we don’t preserve it, many of you already retired will stop getting benefits. Those of you working don’t see much likelihood of seeing the benefit that you’re hoping for. We’ve got to fix this.”
A state budget bill for 2018-2020 is still on track, but as for the possibility of funds getting cut from public school and additional priority spending areas, it depends on whether or not taxes are raised. While the Courier-Journal reports that it is unlikely that taxes will be raised by the House, which is under Republican rule for the first time in roughly a century, it is possible that a reform bill could turn up at the last minute.
“I just don’t think there is an appetite for raising taxes, willy nilly. I think we need to go through the exercise of tax reform,” said pension bill sponsor Joe Bowen in an interview with WKMS.
The General Assembly will meet Tuesday and Wednesday—the 56th and 57th days of the 60-day session—to discuss actions to take on a majority of their remaining bills, with flexibility on when the remaining three days of the session can occur in April if needed for overrides to Bevin’s bill and budget vetoes.
With a liability of more than $40 billion, Kentucky is among the worst-funded pension systems in the country.