By: Julia Roberts GoadWilliamson Daily News
August 31, 2012
FRANKFORT – A new report that offers a framework for reform of Kentucky’s public employee pension systems was released last week by the co-chairs of the Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force.
The report was authored by the Pew Center on the States and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Both groups have been helping the Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force with its deliberations as it works toward a Dec. 7 deadline for offering its own recommendations on improving the stability of state-administered retirement systems.
“This report lays out the case for comprehensive reform of Kentucky’s pension system,” said a joint statement from Sen. Damon Thayer and Rep. Mike Cherry, co-chairs of the Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force. “As the report states, real change requires hard choices, good information, and thoughtful analysis. We intend to live up to this charge as the Task Force moves forward.”
The report, entitled Kentucky’s Pension Challenges: Opportunities for Real Reform, states that Kentucky faces a $23.6 billion shortfall between what should have been set aside to pay future pension benefits and what has already been set aside. Still, sound policy options exist to restore stability to Kentucky’s retirement systems, according to the report.
“Debates over retirement benefits can easily turn contentious and unproductive,” the report states. “However, it is important to remember that pension problems, such as those in Kentucky, are rooted in simple math rather than in political ideology. Solving these problems requires recognition by all parties that the state must fix them through sound policy, and that the state cannot rely on the stock market to wipe away its pension debt.”
A full copy of Kentucky’s Pension Challenges: Opportunities for Real Reform can be viewed online at www.pewstates.org/uploadedFiles/PCS_Assets/2012/Pew_Kentucky_Pension_Challenges.pdf.
The Pew Center on the States is a non-profit organization that works to identify and advance effective solutions to critical issues facing states.
The Laura and John Arnold foundation is a private foundation with the goal of producing widespread and lasting reforms that maximize opportunities and reduce injustice in society.