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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, along with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, called today on state lawmakers to reform pension payments that are straining both cities' budgets.
Mayor Fischer says Louisville's pension obligations come to 15 percent of the city's general fund, which has risen nine percent over the past seven years.
"The need for reform is now," says Fischer, "we are here to encourage legislators to act on it in this 2013 session and we say we are here to help solve the problem."
Mayor Gray says such payments amount to 20 percent of Lexington's budget. They were only six percent of the city's budget back in 2000. He says the shortfalls are happening because of stock market losses, people living longer, and governments under funding their pension commitments.
"These numbers are not abstractions," says Gray. "These are very real numbers and if you run a business and looking at your balance sheet and your incomes and expenses statement and if it would look like this, you would say this is insane."
Lawmakers say they will take up pension reforms in the upcoming General Assembly.
"We can deal with the problem, it needs to be dealt with, it is a problem that the further down the road we go without dealing with it just gets exacerbated," says the soon to be new president of the Kentucky Senate, Republican Robert Stivers.
Fischer says city services are already being negatively impacted by the pension problem. He says the city is not spending as much money as it should on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
"Normally we would be spending $8 million a year on that, right now we are spending just $2 million," says the mayor.
The General Assembly begins its 2013 short legislative session Tuesday.