Governor Bevin says protesting teachers are "throwing a temper tantrum"

03/14/2018 02:51 PM

Governor Bevin didn’t hold anything back while speaking about teachers protesting Senate Bill 1.

Bevin was on Campbellsville radio station WVLC Wednesday afternoon, where he said teachers protesting the controversial pension reform was “bizarre,” and compared their protests to protesting food rations during World War II.

“It would be like people having mass demonstrations about, ‘no I want my butter, I want my sugar, I’m going to keep all my steel and my rubber and my copper, and to heck with the rest of you people, you better keep giving me mine.’ That’s what it is, it’s the most remarkable commentary about who we are in modern times,” he said.

The governor went on to say teachers in Kentucky are the only workers who receive pay raises after they retire. Bevin was referring to the Cost of Living Adjustments that teachers receive as part of their pension benefits. Currently, teachers receive a 1.5 percent COLA increase each year, Senate Bill 1 would have cut that to 1 percent until the Teachers’ Retirement System was 90 percent funded. Bevin told WVLC teachers in Kentucky are paid higher than surrounding states.

“It’s about straight up just wanting more than your fair share,” he said. “You hear constantly about how underpaid people are, the average teacher in Kentucky makes more than the average teacher in Tennessee, makes more money than the average teachers in Virginia, makes more money than the average teacher in West Virginia, makes more money than the average teacher in Missouri, makes more money than the average teacher in Indiana, pick another state we border. The reality is this is a group of people that are throwing a temper tantrum.”

According to WalletHub which compared salary and other factors in 2017 — four neighboring states outrank Kentucky in multiple factor methodology: Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri.

Bevin’s comments come after hundreds of teachers and state workers have flooded Frankfort since last week voicing their opposition to the pension reform bill. Their protests may have worked—Senate President Robert Stivers told the Courier-Journal the fate of the pension bill is not looking good.

The General Assembly has just 11 days to pass a pension reform bill until the end of session.

Michon Lindstrom

Michon is a producer for Pure Politics. Michon comes to Kentucky from Springfield, Illinois where she served as the statehouse reporter for the NBC affiliate. During her time in the Land of Lincoln she covered the state’s two year budget impasse and the largest school funding overall in Illinois history. Pure Politics airs weeknights at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Michon on Twitter at @MichonLindstrom or reach her by email at michon.lindstrom@charter.com

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