Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin came to Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday to explain why he is putting so much of his administration’s focus on addressing Kentucky’s pension plan problem. Bevin told the audience gathered in London that the pension system is “in dire, dire, straights.” He went on to state bluntly, “If we do not act, the systems will fail.”
Depending “on whose numbers you use,” as the Governor said, the state’s pension systems are $40 to $80 billion underfunded, making Kentucky’s the worst in the country. “If these were private company pensions, they would have already been shut down. Every one of the systems has failed.” He went on to say, “If you were to sell everything the state owns, from state parks… to pencils, you won’t come up with 10% of what’s owed” on the state’s pension debt.
He acknowledged that the plan he, Senate President Robert Stivers, and legislative leaders released this past Friday, does not solve the problem quickly. “This is going to be a 30-year fix.” Bevin stated.
The Governor described why the underlying assumptions and structures of the current plans are “unsustainable.” That’s because more people are now drawing state pensions than there are employees in the state system. (See video at: www.mountainadvocate.com.)
He also encouraged the audience to “get the facts,” and “be careful what you repeat” because there is a lot of false information being spread about his plan. (A comparison chart showing the current plans side-by-side with the changes the Bevin Plan proposes is now posted and available at www.mountainadvocate.com..)
Bevin also noted that he expects there are things in his plan that could be changed by the legislature, and has said he intends to call a special legislative session to address the issue soon.
The Governor has agreed to be interviewed by the Mountain Advocate regarding some of the details and give more specifics about his recently-released state pension plan proposal this Thursday, November, 3. 2017. Key parts of that interview will be posted on our web page and included in our print edition next week.