Nonprofit's ad paints bleak picture for education, Medicaid spending without pension reform

08/29/2017 05:50 PM

On the heels of a report recommending significant changes to retirement plans offered to current and future public workers, a 501(c )(4) focusing entirely on pension reform has released a new ad urging viewers to contact their lawmakers and demand action.

Save Our Pensions, a nonprofit that launched in March, released a 30-second spot titled “Crisis” on Monday. It warns that without reforms, the state will run out of money to pay pensions for government employees and retirees and that funding for programs like education and Medicaid will be imperiled.

“If nothing is done to fix the problem, hundreds of millions in funding for K-12 education will have to be cut, meaning larger class sizes and fewer teachers, and Medicaid funding for health care will have to be cut,” a male narrator says.

The ad can be viewed here:

A director with Save Our Pensions did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the spot.

State Budget Director John Chilton told the Public Pension Oversight Board on Monday that the state needs to funnel an additional $1 billion to sustain the Kentucky Retirement Systems and Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, which face unfunded pension liabilities totaling between $37 billion and $64 billion according to estimates.

On top of 9 percent cuts for many state programs in the most recent two-year budget cycle, Chilton said the state would need to cut an additional 34.4 percent if some programs – such as K-12 SEEK funding, Medicaid and public protection – continue to be spared.

If K-12 education is included in spending reductions to help achieve the extra $1 billion, Chilton told the pension oversight panel that cuts would amount to 16.9 percent and a $510 million reduction in SEEK funding.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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