Kentucky Pension Committee Recommends Measures For Funding Improvement, Other Policy Changes

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Kentucky’s Public Pension Oversight Board, a panel of lawmakers that “assists the General Assembly with its review, analysis, and oversight” of the Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS), has made 13 recommendations aimed at improving the health of KRS and altering other KRS policies.

A handful of the key recommendations, from the Courier-Journal:

– The General Assembly should secure additional money to stave off any insolvency problems in KERS non-hazardous — the largest pension plan for state workers, which has only 21 percent of the money it needs to cover benefits.

– The Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System, along with pension plans for lawmakers and judges, should be reviewed by the oversight board as part of its official duties.

– KRS should better publicize its board meetings, particularly to employee, retiree and interest groups.

– The General Assembly should enact legislation to regulate how agencies withdraw from the pension system — a concern that has emerged amid the bankruptcy of Seven Counties Services, the community mental health center for the Louisville area.

More on the measures related to improving the system’s funding situation, from CN2:

Of 13 recommendations tentatively approved by the oversight board, two dealt directly with securing additional funding for KERS non-hazardous. One, submitted by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, would seek financing to maintain the plan’s solvency while the other, filed by Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, and Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Owensboro, would support increased funding to KRS and particularly KERS non-hazardous to improve its cash flow issues.

One other recommendation seeks to cut down pension “spiking”. Eliminating “spiking” is not likely to have a big effect on the system’s funding situation.

Retiree advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees released this statement on the proposals dealing specifically with improving funding:

As stakeholders in Kentucky Retirement Systems, we were gratified that the Public Pension Oversight Board today approved a recommendation calling upon the General Assembly to provide additional funding to avert insolvency in the Kentucky Employees Retirement System non-hazardous fund. The nation’s worst-funded state pension fund desperately needs an infusion of funds above the employer contributions. We hope the 2015 General Assembly will make the difficult decision to act on this recommendation.

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