Waiting game: Pension reform bill on deck by end of week


By TOM LATEK, Kentucky Today

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – The wait may finally be over. Lawmakers said the much-anticipated public pension reform bill would be introduced by the end of the week.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, said the process has been “frustrating” as lawmakers looked at every option to shore up state pension systems for government employees and teachers.

“We made a commitment that we were going to proceed with caution and with as much information as we possibly could,” said Osbourne. “So, while frustrating, it’s been a process that we feel we have to go through.”

Osborne and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said on Tuesday they believe the pension bill will be introduced no later than Thursday. The legislative session will be at the halfway point on Wednesday.

“We have worked to find the best possible solution for this issue that will both insure long-term viability to the systems and, also be something that we can pass,” Osborne said.

On the topic of moving teachers from the current defined benefits plan to a hybrid defined contributions plan, Osborne said, the issue often spurs a “healthy debate.”

“There are some who feel very, very strongly about a pure defined contribution,” Osborne said, “There are some who feel very strongly about a pure benefit.”

He said legislators are committed to fully funding the Actuarial Required Contribution, or ARC, during the two-year budget cycle starting in July, and sees nothing to change that stance.

“Certainly, everything becomes a policy decision at that point in time, but we feel like it is important that we make that commitment and show that we honor that commitment as we go forward,” Osborne said.