Pension negotiation redux: House Democrats won't sign off on proposal amid concerns over benefit, gas tax cut

03/25/2013 05:51 PM

House Democrats on Monday soundly rejected Gov. Steve Beshear’s proposal to salvage reforms to the Kentucky Retirement System with a funding scheme that includes tax code changes and a cut in the gas tax.

But true to form for the waning days of a legislative session, top-ranking lawmakers were scrambling to pitch something that could pass.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo and fellow Democratic leaders left the governor’s office shortly after 6:20 p.m. after meeting with Beshear to outline potential counter proposals.

Stumbo had told reporters earlier in the evening after a more than three-and-a-half hour caucus meeting that House Democrats had a “mishmash” of problems with the governor’s proposal. Most notably, they rejected at 2-cent-per-gallon gas tax cut that would take effect in July 2014. And some Democrats also objected to the proposal keeping the hybrid cash-balance plan for future hires that was part of the original legislative task force proposal from last year.

6:24 p.m.:

As Stumbo and House Democrats left the governor’s office after a more than 20-minute meeting, Stumbo told a few reporters that he hopes the caucus would accept a version of the counter proposal that changes the gas tax cut. He wouldn’t say how.

“The proposals I believe will address some of the concerns that a lot of our members have about the road fund,” Stumbo told reporters while going up the steps to his House chamber office. He said the Senate Republican leaders hadn’t yet been briefed on the counter proposals.

5:58 p.m.:

Senate Republican Floor Leader Damon Thayer had just left the governor’s office from a bill signing as House Democrats walked into the governor’s suite of offices to talk about potential counter proposals.

Thayer said the House has become the flypaper of the 2013 legislative session.

4:10 p.m.:

Beshear, meanwhile, had told reporters that House Democrats were initially “receptive” to hearing the proposal.

Stumbo, however, said the only thing “well-received” by the caucus was when the governor walked in.

Here’s what Beshear told reporters after the caucus:


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