One month into session and still no pension bill as work goes on crafting a biennium budget

02/02/2018 01:51 PM

FRANKFORT – One month into the 2018 General Assembly 60-day session, there is still no pension bill as budget discussions continue to take place.

Many legislators feel that passing a pension bill must happen before seriously crafting a budget.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, is still hopeful a bill will be in place to vote on soon, but understands that it is a slow and meticulous process.

“I have been told that numerous bills have been sent and so the system is a little bit backlogged because it takes time to read a 200 to 300 page bill, understand the impact, because there are so many nuances, multiple systems, different tiers, different benefits within the respective tiers, it takes a long time to look at that,” Stivers said.

Rep. Steven Rudy, R-Paducah, co-chair of the Budget Preparation and Submission Committee, says that while efforts continue on crafting a pension bill, he and his committee members are working behind the scenes at the addressing the budget.

“Our goal is to get it out of the House quicker than it’s ever gotten out and get our work done in a timely fashion,” Rudy said. “We’ve got groups going into each portion of the budget looking the the governors recommendations and trying to figure out how to make adjustments to those and how to make the best possible document for the commonwealth of Kentucky over the next biennium,” Rudy said.

For years, Republicans have complained and blamed Democrats when past budget bills came down to the wire.

Now that the GOP is in charge of both chambers, Rudy doesn’t see that happening this year.

“I anticipate, by the end of this month, having it through the House and down to the Senate,” Rudy said.

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, says that being in the minority, he and his part members have had next to no input in the budget details, be he has deep concerns about what could be part of the proposal.

“I think the ones that hit home most severely are the education cuts, because the local school boards are going to have to bare $200 million more under the Bevin proposal,” Wayne said. “The other is going to be the retired teachers who do not yet qualify for Medicare, and those people have had insurance paid for by part of the pension process. That is being eliminated in this budget and that id going to be a tremendous burden.”

Gov. Matt Bevin is still confident that legislators will craft and effective pension plan soon.

“The amount of effort that has gone in to dialing something in has been more than i would have been willing to bet any piece of legislation in the lifetime of any of these legislators, perhaps of any legislation in the history of Kentucky,” Bevin said. “Given that reality, I am very confident that what we get would be a good bill.”

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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