FRANKFORT — A new state task force charged with recommending ways to improve the financial health of the state’s public pension funds held its first meeting on Monday.
The Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force – chaired by Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. Mike Cherry, D-Princeton – will hold monthly meetings up until a Dec. 7 deadline for offering recommendations. Members plan to take a wide look at issues surrounding the systems, including benefits, investments, funding and any other matter that impacts the financial stability of the state-administered retirement systems.
As of June of last year, the unfunded liability of Kentucky’s state-administered retirement systems exceeded $30 billion. The systems administer retirement and retiree health benefits to more than 475,000 current and former public employees.
At the task force’s first meeting, members were provided with an overview of the administration, benefits, funding, investments, and concerns of the Kentucky Retirement Systems and a national perspective on public pension issues and individual state reactions.
The task force is also tentatively scheduled to meet July 24, August 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 16 and Nov. 20. The next July meeting is expected to focus on input from public policy experts with the Laura and John Arnold foundation and the PEW Center on the States. Employee and employer groups, along with other interested parties, will be heard at the August meeting. A presentation of possible task force recommendations will be discussed in September, with decisions on those recommendations finalized in the October meeting. A presentation of the task force’s draft report is scheduled to be offered in the November meeting.
The Kentucky Public Pensions Task Force was created by House Concurrent Resolution 162, sponsored by Rep. Cherry, which lawmakers approved during the 2012 legislative session.
In addition to co-chairs Sen. Thayer and Rep. Cherry, task force members include Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville; Sen. Joey Pendleton, D-Hopkinsville; Sen. Dorsey Ridley, D-Henderson; Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon; Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green; Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; Rep. Keith Hall, D-Pikeville; Rep. Brad Montell, R-Shelbyville; Rep. Marie Rader, R-McKee; and Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville.
The chairs of the Senate and House budget committees – Sen. Bob Leeper, I-Paducah, and Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford – will also serve as non-voting ex-officio members.