Pension legislation will look much different than PFM report

Published 11:44 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

By Rick Girdler

State Senator

As we embrace fall weather and the beautiful colors that come along with it, the General Assembly is working on addressing a number of issues facing our Commonwealth. Pension reform, tax reform, and the 2018 State Budget are all priorities that will be focused on in the upcoming weeks and months.

Pension reform will be the first to be addressed as the Governor will likely call a special session of the Kentucky General Assembly this fall to pass pension reform legislation. I want to emphasize to all our state workers and those invested in this system that the PFM Group’s report, which was widely criticized by many, was simply an outside group’s perspective of action items that could be utilized to address the crisis. The legislation that will ultimately pass the General Assembly will look much different and will take into account many of the concerns of our current and future retirees.

I also want to address one of the biggest concerns many people have expressed: that of a potential Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) clawback. The Governor and the leaders of the General Assembly have made it abundantly clear that there will be no COLA clawbacks. We will not breach the inviolable contract as Kentucky has a legal and moral obligation to keep its promises to state retirees. Additionally, there will not be an emergency clause attached to the legislation, giving current employees sufficient time to explore their options and best determine their retirement path.

After we tackle pension reform this fall, we will be headed into a budget session that will determine the state’s funding models for the next two fiscal years. Legislators and staff are already meeting to shape a budget plan that will use taxpayer dollars wisely while accounting for shortfalls throughout state programs. I look forward to continuing discussions with legislators and constituents on the 2018 budget plan.

Lastly, discussions of tax reform were prominent earlier this year but have since died down in the face of pension reform. Your legislators have not forgotten this issue; I still expect tax reform to be addressed in the future. We must ensure Kentucky’s tax structure encourages businesses and economic growth while preventing the tax burden from falling on Kentucky families. I will continue to update you on our progress in this area, especially after the special session and upcoming budget session.

If you have any questions or comments about these issues or any other public policy issue, please call me toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or you can email me atRick.Girdler@LRC.ky.gov.  You can also review the Legislature’s work online atwww.lrc.ky.gov.

Note:  Senator Rick Girdler (R-Somerset) represents the 15th District including Boyle, Lincoln, and Pulaski counties. 

He serves as a member of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee; the Banking and Insurance Committee; the Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee; the Budget Review Subcommittee on Economic Development and Tourism, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection; and the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee.

For a high-resolution .jpeg of Senator Girdler, please visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/pubinfo/portraits/senate15.jpg.