As 2013 legislature winds down, the most pressing issue remains - WDRB 41 Louisville News

As 2013 legislature winds down, the most pressing issue remains unresolved

Posted: Updated:

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- The 2013 General Assembly is winding down, and there's no agreement in sight on plugging the $30-billion hole in the state's pension system. The legislature's most pressing issue remains unresolved.

The Democratic House and the Republican Senate have passed two competing versions of pension reform. And right now they're having trouble meeting somewhere in the middle.

The House plan relies on revenue from new lottery games and instant racing to help fund the current pension system.

The Senate bill restructures the retirement system to save money but has no funding component.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo says that's a deal-killer.

"They passed half a loaf. We're waiting for the other half of the loaf to come from down there. I think we can agree upon a funding mechanism. Once you bridge the gap of the funding then, I'm not going to say the rest is easy, but it's less complicated," said Stumbo.

But the author of the Senate bill, Majority Leader Damon Thayer, says it's the House that needs to budge.

"We've said all along, we need to pass the structural and systemic changes to pension reform. And that we can deal with the revenue in due course when the budget is before the legislature for consideration next year," said Thayer.

It will likely be up to Gov. Beshear to broker a deal.

"We need to be able to sit down in an informal atmosphere and talk openly and honestly with each other about the issues, and what our options are, and how we'll be able to resolve them," said Beshear.

Patience is running thin. In a newspaper article today, Metro Council President Jim King said the legislature has finally lost the trust of Kentuckians over pension reform.

"I agree that we need to pension reform in this session of the General Assembly, and the Senate has acted," said Thayer.

After today, the General Assembly will recess until late March, when it returns for a two-day wrap-up. If there is no agreement on pension reform, then the governor will likely call a special session, at a cost of some $60,000 a day.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.