Beshear urges pension reform measures to help cities, counties

Gov. Steve Beshear this morning urged changes to the state’s retirement systems to allow cities, counties and school districts up to 10 years to meet contribution requirements for pension benefits for their employees.

Gov. Steve Beshear

Gov. Steve Beshear

The change mirrors one proposed by Rep. Mike Cherry, a Princeton Democrat and chair of the House State Government Committee who pre-filed a bill earlier this month that if enacted would allow the 10-year phase-in. 

Beshear estimates that the change would provide $37.5 million in relief to cities, counties and school districts that participate in the County Employees Retirement System, which is part of the Kentucky Retirement Systems. Currently, those entities have five years to bring their contribution rates up to the amount required to make the CERS actuarially sound. 

That change could be approved by the board of the Kentucky Retirement Systems without legislative action, according to Beshear, but would be required with the passage of Cherry’s bill. 

“My proposal will provide more than $37 million of immediate relief to our local governments in a way that keeps our pension systems financially sound for years to come,” Beshear said in a statement released after a press conference in Frankfort. 

The relief comes in that local governments and school districts would make lower payments in the near future, but would make larger payments on the back end of the 10-year period. 

Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Jonathan Miller said the change would cost CERS participants more over the entire period, but would lessen the immediate financial burden for cash-strapped local governments. 

“It’s relief in this next fiscal year,” Miller said. “They’re going to have to make it up later.”

Beshear was joined at the press conference by Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry, Sylvia Lovely, who heads the Kentucky League of Cities, and Bob Arnold, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Counties.


One Response

  1. I see the Mayor of on board, naturally. So the way I see it Lexington gets 10 more years to extend it’s due bill which is over 242 million and has been owed and been extended for 4-5 mayors. 242 million dollars to the fire/police pension with out penalty is still owed. The Mayor continues to freeze the employeer contribution which went from 27% to 18% per employee on July 1 08 to pay debt service on a $70 million dollar bond to cut into the 242 million due bill that has yet to be sold.

    If the Gov. wanted to to something good he would have said with in this 10 years and as I lessen the burden on the contributions, you have to submit a detailed plan on making your pension fund solvent with in 15-20 years.

    But again let’s solve the current and not think about the future of our employees and this pension crisis. Same old Frankfort same old faces.

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