Pension News

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  • Bluegrass Beacon: Salvation for sins of the pension fathers
    Kentucky’s pension children shouldn’t pay for the sins of their retirement-systems’ fathers. Mankind shouldn’t break the Ten Commandments, either. But both scenarios have been occurring for a long time. The primary reason the Kentucky Employees Retirement System’s (KERS) funding level has dipped from nearly 140 percent to under 13 percent in less than 20 years […]
  • BIPPS plan offers pension relief for quasis, protection for Kentucky taxpayers
    The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions released its plan for quasi-government agencies which are part of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) and which face financial ruin if action is not taken to alleviate a dramatic increase in pension payments which, unless relief is granted, must begin on July 1. “The politicians in Frankfort are […]
  • Bluegrass Institute statement on attorney general’s lawsuit against Bevin administration
    For Immediate Release: Monday, April 29, 2019  (FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank, issued the following response to Attorney General Beshear’s decision to file a lawsuit trying to force the Bevin administration to withdraw subpoenas of teacher absence records after teacher “sick outs” forced […]
  • State Financial Officers Foundation meeting
    Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters addressed Kentucky’s pension crisis during a recent State Financial Officers Foundation meeting at the Lexington Griffin Gate. Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball is national chair of the foundation, which describes its mission: “to promote fiscally responsible public policy, partner with key stakeholders, and educate the public about the role […]
  • Statement on governor’s veto, call for special session
    (FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute released the following statement regarding Gov. Matt Bevin’s veto of House Bill 358, which would allow non-public and quasi-government agencies to pay less than required to fulfill the huge spike in their pension payments scheduled to begin on July 1 — and to call a special legislative session to […]
  • News Alert: Bipartisan opposition to Louisville mayor’s tax-hike proposal gives taxpayers a rare win in the liberal enclave
    The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions commends the members of the Louisville Metro Council who voted 15-11 against Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed tax increase Thursday night for making a clear bipartisan statement that the way for government to address its fiscal challenges is by tightening its fiscal belt rather than increasing the burden on […]
  • Proposed TRS Pension Bill: Here’s how it can improve
    State Reps. Scott Lewis, R-Hartford, and Travis Brenda, R-Cartersville, have introduced a bill to make changes to the Teachers’ Retirement System. While we support parts of the proposal, it needs to be strengthened in order to address the issues needed to ensure a stable and secure retirement plan for future teachers. Below is our list […]

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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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