. - LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Digging out from a worst-in-the-nation public-pension debt that may be close to $65 billion will require sacrifice from everyone in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and we applaud the Governor and legislative leaders for attacking the problem.
The plan that will need to be approved by all lawmakers will require a set payment each year to pay off the debt starting next year – hundreds of millions more than is being paid now. It would honor promises to retirees and public employees, transition most public employees to 401(k) like plans after 27 years of service, but not police officers and firefighters, and move legislators into the same defined contribution plan as other state employees.
Those still working will see no increase to the full retirement age. Teachers with 27 or more years of service as of July 1 of next year, when the plan would start, could opt to remain in their current traditional pension plan for three additional years. New hires would go straight into the 401(k) plans. All would contribute an additional three percent of their salaries toward retiree health care benefits.
Vigorous debate will ensue. We encourage the Governor and his team to be responsive to it. WAVE 3 News anchor David Mattingly was removed from the state capitol building after he asked for clarity of the ground rules for a media briefing with the state budget director. Reporters were told that meeting would be off the record. Receiving information from a public official that is not able to be sourced or reported is a secrecy that should not be part of the process.