Stumbo pension funding should be addressed potentially by tweaking benefits, ending double-dipping

07/02/2012 03:04 PM

The precarious financial condition of the Kentucky Retirement System ranks as at least an eight on the 10-point scale of urgency for the 2013 session, Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said on Pure Politics.

Stumbo said he believes some benefits can and should be reduced slightly — particulary for retired state workers whose pensions pay them more than $50,000 a year. He also suggested ending the practice of double-dipping so that if someone drawing a public pension is hired back by a government agency that person must choose whether to take a salary or keep drawing the pension checks while they work.

The Kentucky Retirement Systems manages money for more than 330,000 current and former public employees. But over the last nine years, the fund has slowly drained leaving it with a combined unfunded liability of about $26 billion.

In the last three quarters, the system paid out $1.5 billion worth of pension benefits and brought in less than $1 billion in income.

But Stumbo, who served as majority House floor leader until 2003 then served as attorney general before returning to the House in 2008, disputed the notion that the General Assembly was to blame for shorting the fund.

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