Pensions could be a main topic of Gov. Bevin's budget address

01/25/2016 06:43 PM

FRANKFORT – Public Pension Oversight Board co-chair Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, promises that Gov. Matt Bevin will address the states Kentucky Retirement System and the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System pension woes in his budget proposal on Tuesday night.

Bowen admitted on Monday that he and Bevin have been in talks specifically about possible solutions to fix the states pension crisis. He gave no details about the talks other than to say that it will be a priority item in the speech tomorrow night.

“I have spoken to the governor on several occasions about our pension challenges, and i have spoken specifically about KTRS,” Bowen said. “But I’m not at liberty to reveal the nuance of those conversations.”

KTRS has seen major issues with an unfunded liability which continues to increase.

As for KTRS, Bowen said that there seems to be three items currently on the table addressing the issue but, in his words, not all of them are good plans.

“One is the Speakers House Bill 1 which is bonding $3.3 billion,” Bowen said. “I think it’s fair to say the odds of that legislation making it through the process are very long.”

Bowen and fellow committee members Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, and Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville, have been working for several months on a bill which would address issues concerning KTRS and KRS moving forward.

“We addresses structural changes for new hires, we addressed what changes we could outside the enviable, and we addressed the funding component of it,” Bowen said.

State Auditor Mike Harmon, who is a member of the committee,says that the most important things that need to be done with KTRS is an audit.

“We need the performance audits because with the performance audits we can diagnose some of the problems,” Harmon said. “We kind of know some of the problems but we want to make sure and confirm that.”


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