WAVE 3 Editorial – September 13, 2012: Pension Problems
By Ken Selvaggi WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
One of the biggest issues our nation faces is paying for public employee pension funds.
Kentucky ranks among the top 10 nationwide in the extent of the unfunded liabilities – estimates range anywhere from 7 to 20 billion. Unless it is addressed forcefully now, entire budgets will be swallowed up in future years trying to make these payments.
Some have proposed borrowing money by issuing bonds to restructure the debt, but the debt will still be there and potentially could grow faster in this scenario.
Legislators should not be eligible, since their work is part-time but getting them to make that happen is about as likely as changing rules that the pension should be based on the last three years of earnings.
Increasing the age of eligibility is necessary as is stopping the abuse of how some employees are classified. Eliminating double dipping – working a different state job while collecting a pension from another – should be paramount. Perhaps current employees could be offered a bonus or pay raise as an incentive to switch to a new system.
A special legislative task force in Kentucky will make recommendations on solutions to this problem before the next general session in January. The actions they recommend need to be decisive.