Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Conference Committee Working to Resolve Pension Differences

Rep. Carl Rollins, D-Midway; Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; and Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, were appointed to the conference committee to resolve differences on the pension bill.

A Senate committee substitute to HB 418, which was sponsored by Graham, proposed a $533 million bond issue to make the state retirement systems whole. The House refused to concur with the changes, and the Senate refused to acquiesce. The proposal also included a proposed "hybrid" benefit plan that would include both a defined-benefit and a defined-contribution plan, similar to a 401 (k) or IRA fund.

Rollins said he would support the bond issue but not the proposed benefit changes. "It would be really bad for future state employees, really bad for Franklin County and bad for the state of Kentucky," he said. Carroll said an analysis by staff from the Legislative Research Commission shows the unfunded liability will grow from $500 million to more than $2.2 billion in just five years. He said its important to anticipate the problem and try to find a solution before it becomes a crisis. "Its almost as if were just standing on the tracks as we see the train coming," Carroll said.

"It greatly disturbs me." Graham said a special session could be necessary if the House and Senate reach an impasse. Gov. Ernie Fletcher said he would call a special session if the issue cannot be resolved.

See the State Journal article.

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