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  • Bluegrass Beacon: Pension contract inviolable, not inflexible
    Legislators campaigning to hold on to their seats may be jittery about dealing with controversial pension reform, but the problems plaguing the state’s retirement systems don’t hibernate just because there’s an election. Despite record amounts of funding in recent years, the ailing Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) is saddled with $14.5 billion worth of liabilities, remains… […]
  • Bluegrass Beacon: Will Beshear consider ‘common goals’ of non-teaching taxpayers?
    Editor’s note: The Bluegrass Beacon is a weekly syndicated newspaper column posted on the Bluegrass Institute’s website after being released to and published by newspapers statewide. The following column is an updated version of a recent column published by newspapers statewide. Governor Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear held a poster contest as part… […]
  • Much needed resolutions for pension reform in the new year
      1. Implement a TRS hybrid plan for new teachers. Teachers should have access to a defined benefit plan that’s safe, dependable and designed for the workforce of 2020 and beyond. Taxpayers also deserve to have safeguards in place to protect them from the poor decisions of the past that have resulted in a debt… […]
  • Beshear should end pension spiking for legislators who join his team
    Gov.-elect Andy Beshear has selected longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins as his senior adviser. Will Beshear follow the lead of outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin, who, according to administration officials, required legislators appointed to positions in his administration to forego using the salaries earned in their executive positions to spike their legislative pensions? Adkins finished second… […]
  • Bluegrass Institute commends progress toward increased KRS investment transparency
    For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 (FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute Pension Reform Team issued the following statement in response to the Public Pension Oversight Board’s recent discussion regarding transparency of Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) investment fees, which included a presentation by State Auditor Mike Harmon.  The Bluegrass Institute has always been a… […]
  • Bluegrass Beacon – Lacking: Transparency and judicial good sense
    A lack of transparency and judicial good sense provide this edition of “Liberty Boosters and Busters.” Liberty Booster: Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon, who released an audit confirming a culture of secrecy continues to exist within the commonwealth’s two largest public-retirement systems more than two years after the General Assembly unanimously passed legislation requiring the major… […]
  • BIPPS CEO Jim Waters Talks Pensions on KET
    The post BIPPS CEO Jim Waters Talks Pensions on KET appeared first on The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.
  • Dems’ quasi-pension proposals offer same failed approach
    The post Dems’ quasi-pension proposals offer same failed approach appeared first on The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.
  • Wasteful spending, dangerous policy: Louisville’s parole-to-payroll program
    The post Wasteful spending, dangerous policy: Louisville’s parole-to-payroll program appeared first on The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions.
  • Bluegrass Beacon: Adkins could reap millions in pension windfall
    The primary election is upon us, turnout will be low; For those who vote Democratic, there’s something you should know; Much is at stake in your primary, perhaps more than meets the eye; Rocky Adkins really wants to be governor; did you ever wonder why? Adkins, a Democratic representative from Sandy Hook – which got… […]

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BIPPS on Pensions

The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank, is asking all candidates campaigning for General Assembly seats during this fall’s election to pledge support for bringing a greater level of transparency to Kentucky’s troubled public pension system.

The Institute recently sent – and asks all incumbents and challengers to sign – an 84-word pledge vowing to back “making the Kentucky Retirement Systems, Teachers’ Retirement System and Judicial Form Retirement System fully transparent, including requiring the disclosure of names, status and projected actual retirement benefits and benefit payments from the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, State Police Retirement System, County Employees Retirement System and Judicial Retirement Plan.”

For much of the past decade, the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions has led from the forefront of pension reform in the commonwealth of Kentucky. “Future Shock,”1 the institute’s groundbreaking four-part series released in 2011 and 2012, warned that without meaningful reforms, the pension liability would engulf Kentucky’s entire economy. In a column published by the Bluegrass Institute on March 26, 2013, the late Lowell Reese, an esteemed journalist, publisher and former Chamber of Commerce executive, urged policymakers to take seriously the need to address the commonwealth’s deepening pension crisis. “The soaring cost of public employee pensions in Kentucky has become a major societal issue,” said Reese, who authored the “Future Shock” series. “The standard of living of all Kentuckians is at stake.”

The pension and healthcare funds for government employees in Kentucky — the state-administered pension systems — are in significant financial stress. The unfunded liabilities stand at $31 billion. Public employee pensions in Kentucky are badly draining the budgets of city and county governments, dipping into the budget of the commonwealth as never before, pushing up the state’s debt level while pulling down its credit rating. The pension obligations are on the brink of dramatically crowding out funds for essential government services such as public safety and education.

“Kentucky’s pension records are not subject to the open records law,” wrote Lowell Reese in Sunday’s Courier-Journal “They are shrouded in secrecy.”

Reese, publisher of Kentucky Roll Call, also authored “Future Shock,” a series of Bluegrass Institute reports on Kentucky’s public-pension crisis.

The final of those reports offers 16 solutions for lawmakers to consider in fixing the pension system. No. 1 on the list: transparency.

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