FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- State lawmakers are being asked by Kentucky's attorney general to approve gaming to fund public pensions.
Andy Beshear, who is also a Democratic candidate for Kentucky governor, sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to pass expanded gaming. He wants them to dedicate the revenue to fund pensions for public employees including teachers.
In the email to legislators, Beshear said the approach would free up state revenue for education, fighting the drug epidemic and providing health care.
Beshear's lawsuit against the 2018 pension bill passed by the General Assembly is still to be decided by the Supreme Court of Kentucky.
Senate Bill 151 takes newly hired teachers out of the pension system, and places them in a hybrid plan that features elements of both a pension and a 401(k). Republican supporters said the bill was critically needed to help plug the more than $40 billion hole in the pension system. But Beshear, the Kentucky Education Association and the Fraternal Order of Police filed a lawsuit, claiming the bill breaks a legal contract with public employees.
The suit also challenged the way the bill was passed. The language was inserted into what was then a sewage bill, and passed in just a few hours with no public hearing. Franklin circuit judge Phillip Shepherd ruled the bill unconstitutional, and Gov. Matt Bevin appealed directly to the supreme court.
In the email to lawmakers, Beshear said gaming could fund pensions without raising taxes. "The solution is not to cut legally promised benefits, but to create a new stream of revenue dedicated solely to pensions that does not raise any Kentuckian’s taxes.”
In a release, Beshear said Kentuckians spend more than $1 billion at casinos in bordering states. His proposal for expanded gaming would include casinos, fantasy sports, sports gaming and the possibility of online poker in the future.
Below is a copy of the email Beshear sent to lawmakers.
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