Stein says 2012 legislature should deal with pensions, increase education funding

06/13/2011 08:13 PM

State Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, said she should have paid more attention to stabilizing the public pension system over her first decade in office now that more state dollars are being diverted to it and away from education.

The state’s security of the retirement system for state workers now has her full attention, she said. But she said she opposes moving toward a 401(k)-style system called “defined contribution.”

“That moves toward privatization with some folks whose strength is not to know where to invest. Many people do, many people do not. I would like for the pension to be more of a real sturdy safety net for people who have worked for the state,” she said (see the 5:00 mark of the clip)

Stein says she’s studying the issue and looking toward economists who she has faith in to try and figure out how to fix the pension issue.

The overarching goal, she said, should be for the legislature to increase funding for public schools and colleges and universities.

Ethics revisions will be another item on Stein’s agenda. Her “no cup of coffee” bill would prevent lobbyists or people in a position to lobby from gifting something as small as a cup of coffee to lawmakers. The bill, Stein says, would take out all appearances of impropriety between lawmakers and lobbyists.

Stein’s proposed bill died in the last legislative session.

“It was politics, Ryan, unfortunately,” Stein told Pure Politics host Ryan Alessi. “I’m a Democrat in the minority, and I’m not the most quiet person.” (see the 2:10 mark of the clip)

A recent bill that passed in Florida would require welfare recipients to pass drug tests in order to receive benefits. A similar bill has been proposed by Republican state Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, but Stein said it’s not for her.

“I’m opposed to that,” Stein said. “By removing the ability to purchase necessities for a family… it would end up punishing the children.” (see the 9:15 mark of the clip)


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