Senate candidate McDaniel highlights pension changes, says he's open to casino proposal

09/13/2012 05:26 PM

Republican state Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, who is running for an open seat in Northern Kentucky, said Kentucky’s underfunded public employee pension system needs to be addressed immediately in 2013.

And he expanded on his press conference this week calling first for reforms to legislators’ retirement benefits.

“The first round of changes needs to start with us. We are the leaders, we need to step up and acknowledge as much. And that’s why this change presented today related to future legislators and that’s where I want to see it start,” he said (at 2:40).

McDaniel, a Taylor Mill businessman, faces Democrat James Noll in the 23rd state Senate district in northern Kenton County. The winner will replace Republican Sen. Jack Westwood, who is retiring at the end of the year.

While McDaniel is calling for changing retirement benefits for future workers, he said he didn’t want to see tax increases or selling of bonds to cover part of the nearly $33 billion in unfunded liabilities across the six public retirement systems. Instead, he said there are areas of efficiencies that could free up as much as nine figures of state money, although he declined to go into details about what those are yet.

“I genuinely think that there are inefficiencies we can save on and increase by, to the neighborhood of one hundred million dollars or better our annual investment in our pension funds,” he said (at 4:10).

On the issue of allowing casino-style gambling, McDaniel said he doesn’t want to give an unfair competitive advantage to horse racetracks. And he said any proposal he would support must be in the form of a constitutional amendment.

“Expanded gambling has got to be a constitutional amendment. There is no doubt in my mind what so ever. But I very would much like to see a well worded constitutional amendment that could make it through the legislature. And put it through a vote of the people and allow them to decide what Kentucky is going to do in regards to gambling” (at 9:48).

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