House Republican is willing to compromise on pension funding but disagrees with handling of issue

03/05/2013 12:24 PM

One of the House Republican leaders sees room to salvage pension reform — and thus, the 30-day session, if Senate Republicans and House Democrats can negotiate over funding and moving back to a “hybrid” pension plan for future workers.

Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R- Campbellsville, who is serving in his first session as House minority whip, said he is disappointed in the actions of the General Assembly during the first 23 days of this year’s 30-day session.

“The people expect is to get these things done. We came to Frankfort with three major issues: pension reform, tax modernization, and redistricting. And we are in day 23 or 24 and really we have accomplished none and that’s really disappointing,” Carney told Ryan Alessi on Monday’s edition of Pure Politics (at 6:05 in video below).

The biggest argument between the Republicans and Democrats in Frankfort comes from the methods to fix the state’s woefully-underfunded pension system.

But unlike Senate Republicans, Carney says he believes it is the obligation of the General Assembly to find a way to fund the more than $100 million dollars needed in additional general fund dollars for the to make its full payment into the Kentucky Retirement System and to state how they will do it.

“It’s not that I disagree with the Speaker in terms of we need to find a funding mechanism, I think that is reasonable. But I really have a concern with the method that we basically just took Senate Bill 2 and just demolished it,” Carney said (at 1:20).

Carney believes the way his chamber handled the pension reform bill that came from the Senate was a breach of trust to a year of work from a bipartisan task force.

And while some in the House that served on the task force see some good ideas in the House plan for funding, Carney said he and other House Republicans want to go back to the original version of Senate Bill 2 to adopt the hybrid cash-balance plan for future public employees. That was one of the recommendations from the task force.

“I don’t think we can go forward without the hybrid plan. The reason I say that is because I think precedent has been set by the task force and the Senate vote that that’s what they want” (at 4:45).

Jacqueline Pitts

Jacqueline Pitts joined the cn|2 political team in June 2012. A graduate of WKU, Jacqueline grew up in Nashville, TN and is looking forward to having a front row seat to Kentucky politics. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqueline_cn2. She can be reached at 502-792-1114 or


  • sadkywkr wrote on March 05, 2013 02:37 PM :

    The task force is a sham! They had their minds made up before they ever started working on the pension problem. I think if you could dig deep enough you would find contributions from the Arnold’s in the coffers of many of the members of the task force. Arnold’s friends on Wall Street will make a fortune from the destruction of the pension system and making everyone go to a 401k. The task force was non partisan but fully influenced by outside forces. Their focus should have been how to salvage a perfectly fine pension program that suffers from severe underfunding.

  • Bill Huff wrote on March 06, 2013 12:26 PM :

    Part of the devised funding to pay down the state retirees’ deficit is to: cut spending by eliminaing/modernizing state tax expenditues which is $350 million to high in 2013; cut spending by elimination/modernizing $400 million of corporate tax shelters; cut $100 million of non-merit pay only on those non-merit who’re paid $100,000 or more, annually; cut property & education personnel by $60 million; annually; i.e., use savings from eliminating part-time legislators’ full-time retirement; eliminating 103 PVA’s by replacing 120 with 17 regional PVA’s ; cutting deputy PVA total pay by $12 million; cut superintendent pay by $20 million by replacing 157 with 17 regional superintendents;eliminate truck weight-distance taxes after combinng motor fuels, weight-distance and state truck registration fee revenues together and then eliminating weight-distance tax!

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