136 Kentucky Retirement System pensioners received more than $100K in 2011

11/29/2012 10:25 AM

Of the nearly 100,000 retired state employees who received a state pension last year, 136 of them collected more than $100,000 in 2011, according to figures provided to Pure Politics by the Kentucky Retirement System.

The system doesn’t release names of individual pensioners and how much they receive, said Jennifer Jones, general counsel for the KRS. But the system did release the number of pensioners in specific income thresholds in response to an open records request.

Jones cited KRS 61.661 and 61.878(1)(1) which says, “Each current, former, or retired member’s account shall be administered in a confidential manner and specific data regarding a current, former, or retired member shall not be released for publication unless authorized by the member.”

The system currently makes monthly pension payments to 96,342 retirees, meaning those who get $100,000 make up .014 percent of those in the system.

The KRS also publicly lists the yearly average benefits from 2011 across the systems (KERS is the Kentucky Employee Retirement System that includes the most retirees and the CERS is the County Employee Retirement System and the SPRS is the State Police Retirement System):

KERS Non-Hazardous: $20,436
KERS Hazardous: $13,992
CERS Non-Hazardous: $10,872
CERS Hazardous: $24,672
SPRS: $36,840

The public employee pension systems have become like Kentucky’s version of the fiscal cliff with an unfunded liability of more than $30 billion dollars. Legislators on the Public Pension Task Force recommended that the state start paying the full required contribution (among other things) – which will mean coming up with more than $300 million more to pump into the Kentucky Employee Retirement System in 2015.

While some lawmakers saw a significant bump in their pensions when they left the legislature and switched to other higher-paying government jobs, those lawmakers who don’t change jobs receive comparatively modest pensions.

Retiring legislator and co-chair of the pension task force Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton, said at the last meeting on the task force that he will receive a pension of $14,000 a year after 14-years in the General Assembly.


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