Legislative members of the KTRS work group announced

07/13/2015 06:33 PM

Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo have announced appointments to the panel tasked with examining funding issues at the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System.

In a press release Monday, Stivers announced his three picks for the Teachers’ Retirement Work Group: Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown; Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro; and Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.

In a statement, Thayer said that the Senate GOP will seek a solution which combines structural reform “with any additional funding.”

“We look forward to learning the structural solutions offered by this working group,” Thayer said. “We recognize that lasting structural changes will make any additional taxpayer funding of public pensions have a long-term impact that will benefit all Kentuckians.”

A spokesman for Stumbo told Pure Politics that the House Speaker appointed himself; Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; and House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, to the special work group.

The panel, created by Gov. Steve Beshear via executive order, is expected to present its recommendations by Dec. 1 and explore how other states grant pension benefits, various funding options and draft a plan to improve KTRS’s financial standing.

Lawmakers debated a funding proposal brought by Stumbo in the 2015 legislative session which would have authorized the sale of $3.3 billion in bonds to shore up the teachers’ pension system.

New federal accounting standards are changing for KTRS, meaning without a funding plan in place, the agency’s funded ratio will drop below 50 percent and unfunded liabilities will rise to $21.6 billion.

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