Legislators want to end loophole that gives job-switching lawmakers a higher pension

11/03/2011 10:42 PM

Lawmakers from both parties say its time to end a loophole that allows legislators to get higher pensions if they take jobs in other branches of government.

The loophole, part of a 2005 bill passed by the General Assembly, allowed state employees to count their “high-three” salary when computing their state pension. Lawmakers typically make around $30,000 a year as a state legislator. Becoming a judge or official in the executive branch can more than double or triple that salary, and thus their retirement benefits.

State Rep. Ron Crimm, a Louisville Republican, has pre-filed a bill to close the loophole.

Under Crimm’s bill, a legislator who changes job to a higher-paying judgeship or executive branch position after July 1, 2012, would receive two smaller pension checks upon their retirement: one just for their legislative service and salary, and one based on their time of service and pay in the other job.

Crimm told Pure Politics he pre-filed his bill partly because he thought some of his former colleagues have taken advantage of the loophole.

Republican Senator Jimmy Higdon has pre-filed a similar measure for the Republican-controlled state Senate. And Crimm told Pure Politics that he doesn’t foresee any problems getting the bill heard in that chamber.

The measure could get support across the aisle as well.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Riggs, who is chairman of the House Local Government Committee, told Pure Politics that he believes the issue a bipartisan one.

Riggs, of Louisville, said he believes Crimm’s bill “has legs” and should “move forward” in the 2012 session.

Programming note: See more from Riggs and Crimm on 2012 issues of the General Assembly, including pensions and redistricting, on Friday’s edition of Pure Politics

-Reporting and video production by Kenny Colston

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