Kentucky Republican leader says pension deal will be 'difficult' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Republican leader says pension deal will be 'difficult' to pass

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Republican plan to fix Kentucky's struggling pension system could be losing steam.

Senate President Robert Stivers said Wednesday night that reaching an agreement could be challenging.

“I think it has a very limited and difficult path forward at this point and time," Stivers said.

There are just a handful of days left in this session to vote on the bill. Senate Bill 1 has faced strong protests from teachers and other public workers. It would cut some benefits for retirees and change what will be available in the future.

People backing the proposal say it could save Kentucky $3.2 billion over 20 years.

"It's kind of like the unstoppable train versus the inmovable mountain," Stivers said. "I don't know where it goes."

Democrats like Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville said the lack of movement on the bill is a win for opponents.

“The teachers and public employees are rightly infuriated," Wayne said. "They have gone into these jobs with the understanding that part of their compensation package would be a guaranteed pension, with cost of living increases, with health insurance and so forth."

Wayne said he would only support a plan that fully funds the current pension system and protects promised benefits.

“In order to properly fund the pensions, you have to have tax reform, you have to have new revenue coming into the state," he said. "We have not seen any proposals by the Republicans to adequately fund pensions."

Stivers said he is considering a bill that would keep lawmakers from getting some pay if they need to extend the session but is not sure where that will lead.

“That’s why you have the split in the Senate right now among Republicans," Wayne said. "They don’t have the votes to pass it."

Acting House Speaker David Osborne said he is interested in passing pension reform but does not know exactly what that will look like.

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