Kentucky's pension crisis needs to be dealt with immediately, tea party and Bluegrass Institute say

09/26/2012 05:13 PM

With a number of $23,500 in debt per taxpayer in the state, Kentucky has among the most debt of any state, and its underfunded state employee pension system is a big reason.

“We need to look at everything our money is gong to in the state of Kentucky that is causing this problem. Granted the pension debt is one big issue, I think we are paying $9 billion on interest alone just on the debt, that doesn’t help this figure at all” said Terry Donoghue, a co-founder of the Northern Kentucky Tea Party. (at 5:40).

Jim Waters of the Bluegrass Institute said legislators should start addressing it with their own pensions. Waters said the legislators pensions are just a drop in the bucket financially, but it creates a credibility issue.

“State workers are looking to legislators now and saying ‘you guys, you’ve got both hands in the pension pot.’ And I don’t think part-time legislators should get a full taxpayer funded pension, I think it needs to go away” Waters said (at 1:55).

Pure Politics reported on the New Jersey pension reforms of capping benefits and barring “double dippers” who leave jobs in government and then come back to government work and take another salary and pension. Essentially, they would have to pick one — a salary or pension.

“Kentucky definitely needs to do that. They need to take a good look at the overall picture” Donahue said (at 9:40).

But regardless of which approach is chosen, both believe that the issue of the underfunded state pension system needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

“This pension crisis…if it is not dealt with, I mean immediately, it is going to crowd out other services” Waters said (at 7:15).

About Pure Politics

Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.


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