Purge the Pensions (12/8/09)
In 2005, Kentucky's lawmakers very quietly changed the formula used to calculate their pensions. As a result, the amount Kentucky's taxpayers will pay toward those pensions will rise from less than $800,000 to over 4.2 million dollars in the next two years.
Some people are outraged over this. But I think focusing on the amount of the increase causes us to miss the bigger question, which is:
Why are we still giving any pensions to our lawmakers?
According to Kentucky law, our legislature convenes for 60 days in even-numbered years and for 30 days in odd-numbered years, and also in special sessions at the call of the governor.
That's it. 90 days over a two-year span, with maybe an extra week or so thrown in from time to time. Obviously, serving as a Kentucky lawmaker is no one's full-time job. So why should it be treated as such?
The truth is, pensions in general are becoming a relic of the past. Very few companies even offer them anymore. And even those that still do are scaling them back – not increasing them by over 400%.
While we should certainly honor whatever past commitments we've made, I see no reason to extend any pension promises to future lawmakers. Especially when we're already paying them pretty well for their limited time on the job.
Do you agree? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.