Government Retirement - A Whole New Deal (3/20/07) - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Government Retirement - A Whole New Deal (3/20/07)

For a long time, Kentucky's retirement system has been making promises to state employees it can't possibly keep. Very soon, far too many people will be in line for benefits, with too few resources to fund them.

As one way of dealing with this problem, Kentucky's Senate recently proposed scaling back the benefits promised to new state employees who are hired after July 1 of next year.

But Kentucky's House leaders don't want to hear it. They're opposed to any change in benefits for future hires.

But what good is any promise when there's nothing there to back it up? What should we tell these people when they show up in several decades to claim their benefits, only to discover the cupboard is bare?

Certainly, no commitments already made should be broken. One of the main reasons many state employees and retirees worked for relatively lower pay than what's offered in the private sector was that generous retirement plan. They earned it, and it's theirs.

But new hires from here on out call for a new deal. The private sector realized this long ago, and our Commonwealth needs to do the same.

Wishing a problem away never works. And Kentucky's House members would do well to catch up to their Senate colleagues when it comes to correcting this situation that's not only serious, but urgent.

I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my Point of View.

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