Gov. Bevin responds to recommended changes to Kentucky's pension problem
The recommended fixes include raising the retirement age for teachers, freezing pensions for civilian employees, and changing the retirement age for police officers.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin took to Facebook on Monday night to respond to concerns about recommended changes to the Commonwealth’s ailing pension system.
The recommendations of the PFM Group were unveiled at a meeting of the legislature’s Public Pension Oversight Board on Monday.
Lawmakers will consider acting on the options during a special session Bevin plans to call later this year aimed at fixing the pension problem.
“Nibbling around the edges won't get Kentucky in terms of having a stable program to provide benefits,” said Mike Nadol of the PFM Group.
Bevin said Monday night that the recommendations made by PFM Group would be considered but not necessarily all put into effect.
“There's good ideas in there,” Bevin said. “I would say there are a lot of good ideas. Some of them may be implemented. There's some, I think, there won't be an appetite for.”
PFM Group recommended freezing benefits for current civilian workers and giving them a 401(k)-style “defined contribution” plan for their remaining years of work.
For public school teachers, the consultant recommends giving new hires access to the Social Security system -- in which Kentucky teachers don’t currently participate -- along with a 401(k)-style plan.
Current teachers would continue to be promised pensions, but they would have to work until age 65 to receive an un-reduced level of benefits upon retirement. Today, teachers can retire with full benefits after 27 years of service regardless of their age.
Bevin hinted that first responders could be treated differently.
“I think we have a special obligation to people like that," he said. "What it looks like exactly? I can't definitively tell you."
Bevin said that he would call a special legislative session in the fall to address the issue. However, he said it likely wouldn’t be until at least the first of the year before any changes are implemented.
“It's not going to happen overnight," he said. "We didn’t get here over night, and we’re not going to fix it overnight."
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