Three interesting things from the draft version of the pension reform bill

10/30/2017 03:22 PM

The 505 page draft of the pension reform bill which will likely debated in a yet-to-be-called special session of the General Assembly, has several new points that expand on the recently released reform outline.

The overall bill could change before the special session as this is just a “draft” of the final legislation, and this list is not comprehensive, but rather a first pass at the ideas we’re just discovering inside the proposal.

  • If agencies under any of the pension umbrellas miss payments, or become delinquent as contribution rates increase retiree allowance payments will end. (Page 367 of the bill)

Former Kentucky Retirement Systems trustee Chris Tobe calls the language in the bill a “bankruptcy bombshell,” and questions whether the phrasing could immediately take away pensions for Louisville Social workers at Seven Counties Services, who filed for bankruptcy in 2013 to escape the crushing weight of their pension obligation.

  • The legislation resets the amortization period to 30 years. The longer the period, the more interest the state pays.

Jim Carroll, co-founder of Kentucky Government Retirees, tweeted that “resetting longer amortization — my apologies — “kicks the can down the road.” Who wrote this wretched bill? #SaveKERS.”

“Actuaries say a closed DB plan should shorten its debt amortization,” Carroll continued in a separate tweet. “This bill does exactly the opposite. Huh. #SaveKERS.”

  • The draft bill also calls for three percent of state employees’ salaries towards health benefits, as outlined by the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. However, employee health plans are better funded than similar plans across the country, according to KCEP.

“The new contribution will cut wages by approximately $158 million annually for state workers (including teachers) and another $85 million for local workers — and many of these employees have not received raises for much of the last decade,” KCEP wrote in a blog post. “For a teacher who spends 27 years in the classroom at present-day salaries, the 3 percent contribution would mean the loss of about $40,000 in lifetime income.”

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

7 Comments

Comments

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on October 30, 2017 04:23 PM :

    There is a hearing schedule for Thursday at 1pm. These hearings need to begin earlier and last for more than the typical 60mins. This Pension crisis has and will continue to have an effect on every man woman and child in KY. If they need to take a bathroom break or conference break so be it.

    We have asked for years to change how these hearings are conducted. The members of the General Assembly get paid for a Full days pay. We need to get at minimum of 4hrs on Thursday. I am tired of hearing about them having to travel. We don’t get no substance out of paying them for window time…

    Who are the guest schedule to speak Thursday ?

    Tonight at 8pm EST on KET is on pensions. We have asked also for years for KET to change up the guest they bring on. We need new faces and ideas. The KET Foundation has a strangle hold on what and who speaks on our public TV network. This must change if we ever expect to get new results…

    Renee Shaw, ask your guest if the GA funded these pensions. IF not , why didn’t they. And who do we need to old accountable for not funding the pensions ??? Where did all the money go… RL

  • JoeB wrote on October 31, 2017 07:17 AM :

    The devil is in the details.More alarming items keep getting exposed in this bill.No way a special session should be called any time soon to vote on this terrible piece of legislation that the Gov, Stivers, Thayer,and some others want rushed through.I wont include Hoover in with this bunch. I do not know him but he seems more willing to thoroughly discuss this bill before voting.I think the Gov, Thayer,Rep King,and a few others think teachers and state employees are all stupid and as the Gov said “not sophisticated enough to understand”.I do think those words will come back to haunt him and follow him around the rest of his days as Governor and beyond.More and more Republican lawmakers are coming out and saying they will vote “no” on this bill as it is written if a special session is called.

  • sadkyworker wrote on October 31, 2017 08:45 AM :

    KET has NO ONE who is an actual employee or teacher on there. Our of all of the thousands of us, I believe they could find one person that would be sophisticated enough to represent us. Did Bevin think we wouldn’t actually read this monstrosity and just let him steamroll this thru without complaint? We have sacrificed yearly raises which we were promised, reasonable priced health insurance, furlough days, and mandatory overtime. This is the reason we have an inviolable contract is to prevent politicians from playing with our pay and benefits for their own personal gain. We are not letting this one go without a FIGHT!

  • sadkyworker wrote on October 31, 2017 08:46 AM :

    KET has NO ONE who is an actual employee or teacher on there. Our of all of the thousands of us, I believe they could find one person that would be sophisticated enough to represent us. Did Bevin think we wouldn’t actually read this monstrosity and just let him steamroll this thru without complaint? We have sacrificed yearly raises which we were promised, reasonable priced health insurance, furlough days, and mandatory overtime. This is the reason we have an inviolable contract is to prevent politicians from playing with our pay and benefits for their own personal gain. We are not letting this one go without a FIGHT!

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on October 31, 2017 09:47 AM :

    Speaker Jeff Hoover is the heart and soul of our party. He will not go along just to get along with Governor Bevin on this very important piece of legislation..

    KEA Pres. Winkler said last night on KET with Renee Shaw that she hasn’t spoken with the Governor or his staff on this bill. That doesn’t lead me to believe Gov. Bevin is trying to craft the best bill possible for all here. All parties need to be included…

    I have confidence in Jeff Hoover and Robert Stivers here. Governor Bevin will be gone in a few years. This bill will be discussed and felt for years after he is gone…RL

  • AllPainNoGain wrote on October 31, 2017 02:08 PM :

    RL, for once we agree. Bevin will be out of the governors mansion in just a few years (if not sooner)…on to DC! The word is already out that Bevin will run for re-election and then immediately run for Senate to take McConnells seat (who is rumored to be retiring after this term), leaving his Lt. Governor to fill his remaining second term (and no, we all know it won’t be Hampton who will be forgotten faster than she can say tea party patriot). So, Bevin will be gone and these other smucks will be left holding the bag. They’ll be the ones on the hook for the next 30 years and Bevin will become a darling of the Koch brothers and big time republican donors. When we elect a business man to run things…well, he runs it like he would his personal business. And that means he calls every shot…and if you disagree with him, well, you’re fired. That’s how a private business works and that’s exactly what Bevin is doing to teachers and other state employees. And, rest assured, he is threatening both Hoover and Stivers along the way. Bevin does not negotiate. He is always right. As someone who appears to be somewhat of an insider, you should know that.

  • Ricky Lee Williams Jr. wrote on October 31, 2017 04:11 PM :

    Lawd have mercy! Call me anything but an insider. I have standards and integrity. By the code of the movie “O’Brother Where Art Thou”, I am Bonafide!

    You are talking about a bunch of tone deaf people to the realities their constituency is feeling and facing. I couldn’t afford $1000 buy in to get a word with these high rolling politicians. I get on here and write like the state’s economy depends on it, and all I get is an invite for $1000 to attend and get a minute with them. If I ever saved enough pop bottles to attend one of their social events, I might get a glass of the Bourbon they are always drinking and tell them what is on my mind. My ancestry is a little German, little Italian, and about 1/16 of Navajo Indian. That hard stuff ain’t the best for my kind. I do like to get my redneck on every now and then.

    In all seriousness, I have not spoken to a soul who will vote for this as is. Sen. Thayer, on KET, the other night, might have spoken before he thought.

    This is my Cloak and Dagger song. Steve Earl’s – Feel Alright. Be careful what you wish for friend , I have been to hell and now I am back again… Enjoy. RL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHTLioJGXb4

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