By Brent McKim President - Jefferson County Teachers Association WDRB Contributor
Once again, the Kentucky General Assembly ended a legislative session without addressing the single biggest financial issue facing the Commonwealth - funding the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System - KTRS.
The Democratic House leadership did their homework and brought forth House Bill 4 - a credible solution to fund KTRS. Unfortunately, Republican Senate Leaders claimed they had "too many questions" and were unwilling to act. As a result, KTRS officials indicate the system will have to sell more than $500 million worth of investments over the coming year, just to make payments to retirees. These funds will ultimately have to be paid back with interest by Kentucky taxpayers. That's more than $1.4 million every day for the coming year. Based on this, rating agencies have warned Kentucky that its failure to act may lower the state's credit rating.
Therefore, Jefferson County teachers call upon the Senate Leadership to begin ongoing meetings with the House Leadership, along with all the technical expertise needed to answer their questions, so this issue can be solved before the retirement system has to sell half a billion dollars in investments.
As teachers, we are not covered by Social Security. KTRS is all we have. So if Kentucky is going to attract and keep quality educators in classrooms, our teachers have to know they can count on a secure retirement.
Funding KTRS is not just about keeping our promise to teachers. It's about having the best educators possible to teach our kids.