Retirees group criticizes legislation

To the Editor:

Kentucky Retirement Systems stakeholders are shocked and appalled by the actions of the General Assembly regarding public pensions. Last week, in the space of about nine hours, the majority party produced a 291-page pension bill and voted it out of the House and Senate. Senate Bill 151 awaits Gov. Matt Bevin’s signature.

Taxpayers need to understand three important points about this bill as it relates to Kentucky Retirement Systems. First, KRS pensions were comprehensively reformed in landmark legislation in 2013. That legislation reduced future liabilities by eliminating retiree cost-of-living adjustments and adopted a hybrid cash-balance plan for new hires in which future risk is shared between employees and employers.

Second, the new pension bill produces no significant reduction in KRS liabilities, according to the KRS actuary. Third, stakeholders believe strongly that the benefit reductions in SB 151 violate the contract rights of members. Attorney General Andy Beshear and others will litigate.

We urge taxpayers to remember these three points when the November election approaches. If your legislator voted “yes” to Senate Bill 151, it was a vote to make illegal benefit cuts that produce no significant savings for a system that already had been comprehensively reformed just five years ago. We urge citizens to vote accordingly.

Jim Carroll
President, Kentucky Government Retirees