Kentucky has no need to spend public dollars on a hastily-called special session to cut public employee pensions. Retirement benefits were already reduced in 2003, 2008, 2010 and 2013 and are being undermined by the lack of employee raises. More cuts will further reduce retirement security and harm our ability to attract and retain qualified teachers and public employees.
As shown in the actuarial analysis to SB 151, the ideas on the table do not make a difference in the financial health of the systems. That same analysis shows the plans will improve over time through steady funding. Responsible funding resumed in 2015 for the state employee plans and in 2017 for the teacher plans, and it is already making a difference — plans are seeing growth in assets and are on the track to better financial health. Claims of looming insolvency are patently false.
Instead of helping, SB 151 contains measures that would widen inequality between rich and poor school districts, add unnecessary costs to the state budget in the short term, and harm the KERS non-hazardous system through a defined contribution option that diverts resources from that plan.
The special session sends Kentucky back down into the sewers. Instead, we need an open conversation rooted in the facts and a simple commitment to a funding plan that will improve the systems’ financial health over time.
See our analysis of SB 151 here.