Hoover again seeks interim study of Ky. Teachers' Retirement System

04/06/2015 01:21 PM

UPDATED: House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, is joining the chorus of voices calling on lawmakers to study the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System over the legislative interim.

In a letter sent Monday, Hoover asked Gov. Steve Beshear to create a bipartisan task force of House and Senate members and individuals from the private sector with experience in pension reforms to study KTRS.

During the session House Speaker Greg Stumbo proposed a $3.3 billion bonding plan for KTRS, which is currently facing nearly $14 billion in unfunded liabilities. The funding ratio will only get worse this summer as new federal accounting standards push the debt to $21 billion and below the 50 percent funded threshold.

Hoover added an amendment to Stumbo’s House Bill 4 during the session calling for an interim study.

“Apparently there is a belief among some that the old ‘borrow and spend’ mentality is the way to fix the system,” Hoover wrote in the letter to Beshear. “I would argue that you wouldn’t borrow money to build a house without knowing all the specific costs, especially if there are ways to save money by reviewing all aspects of construction.”

Senate Republican leaders also called on a study of KTRS, though they too conceded the system will need an influx of cash.

In his letter to Beshear, Hoover said he and his caucus “stand ready” to set up and serve on the KTRS task force.

“The issue of our teachers’ retirement is of great concern to all members of the House Republican Caucus, and I urge you to take action immediately,” Hoover wrote.

Download Hoover’s full letter to Gov. Beshear here: 15.04.06 Leader Hoover letter to Governor Beshear-formation of KTRS task force.pdf

House Speaker Greg Stumbo told Pure Politics he would go along with a study, but he already knows what it would show — the need for an influx of cash.

“As my friend and colleague Rep. Cluster Howard said, we’re the ‘studying-est’ bunch he has ever seen. A study will show what we already know: that KTRS needs money, and that the longer we wait, the less likely interest rates will stay low and the harder it will be to close the unfunded liability in the years ahead,” Stumbo said in a statement.

“I would support a special session to resolve this issue right away, but if that is not possible, our caucus stands at the ready to do whatever can be done to resolve this issue for our teachers, who deserve no less.”

After the 2015 session ended legislative leaders in the House and Senate both said that they would continue looking into KTRS in the interim, something they said could be achieved through the committee process within the Legislative Research Commission.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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