Bevin: Pension Votes There Despite Opposition
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH, KY - Despite less-than-enthusiastic public comments by some lawmakers for his pension reform plan, Governor Matt Bevin says he believes the votes are there to pass the proposed legislation. 

In an interview, Bevin told West Kentucky Star the current system is not working, and that lawmakers need to move quickly on the proposed changes to help stop the bleeding. He said he believes lawmakers are ready to take action on the legislation.

"It's the worst funded pension system in the United States of America, and we can't keep pretending that it's okay. It's not okay. The system is failing, and it's failing rapidly." Bevin said.

Bevin's proposal would move most state employees into a 401(k)-style system and would freeze benefits for current workers once they reach 27 years of employment. Many public employees have voiced opposition to the sweeping changes.

At a recent forum in Mayfield, Republican State Rep. Richard Heath and Republican State Senator Stan Humphries spoke against Bevin's proposed bill in its current form, but acknowledged that changes need to be made to save the ailing system. Bevin said that while some of the concerns are understandable, what should really scare people is a scenario in which retired state employees stop getting paid because the money is gone.

"Nobody ever likes to be on the record for something. They're worried about how it may come back to haunt them, or who will dislike them or like them, or what have you. Some are just fearful. Some are people who have legitimate concerns with something or another, but if they really analyze the situation their greatest fear should be a system that collapses."

A recent analysis of Bevin's plan to overhaul the retirement system for public school teachers shows it would cost taxpayers an extra $4.4 billion over the next 20 years. That analysis assumes teachers would retire in greater numbers and the state would earn an average of 6 percent on its investments.

Bevin says he plans to call for a special session to consider the plan before the end of the year.

Published 11:11 AM, Tuesday Nov. 14, 2017
Updated 10:29 AM, Wednesday Nov. 15, 2017

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