After being sworn-in as the new governor of Kentucky late Monday evening in a private ceremony, Governor Matt Bevin spoke to the commonwealth Tuesday about what policy initiatives he plans to tackle in his inaugural address.
Among the issues discussed in his inaugural speech, Bevin talked about the need to shore up the state’s retirement systems and ensure they are solvent moving forward.
“We talked about changing our retirement plans, the pension plans themselves, to ensure that we save them, so that we honor the commitment to our retirees and to our current employees and we are going to do that,” Bevin said. “Because to do anything less than that is a disservice to those not yet employed, those currently employed and those who are retired. We will ensure that none of them get any of the promises made if we don’t make hard decisions. And we will make those hard decisions and we will save our pension plans for those who have earned them.”
During his campaign, Bevin said he believes the retirement systems need to be moved to a 401k style plan right away. Additionally, Bevin suggested the state begin offering lump sum incentives to some in the system to allow those individuals to remove themselves from the system and have control of their contributed amounts.
Bevin also brought up tax reform in his speech Tuesday to say he plans to modernize the state’s tax code and “get rid of” things like the inventory tax and death tax.
“We’re going to get rid of the very things that frankly send the message to the outside world that we are not serious about being a business-friendly state. We are going to break those things down and we are going to turn this state into the type of place that people not only want to come to but they want to stay,” Bevin said.
On the issue of health care and the current state-based system insuring Kentuckians, Bevin maintained his position that he will transition people from the state-based health exchange to the federal level exchange.
In his remarks, Bevin called the system, Kynect “redundant” and said he plans to begin transitioning people to the federal exchange in 2016. Federal law requires that any state that wishes to dismantle their state-based exchange give a one year notice.
As for the expansion of Medicaid also done under outgoing Gov. Steve Beshear, Bevin said he recognizes there is need for such a program in this state and said he would like to “copy” the model put in place in Indiana to expand the assistance program but require Medicaid patients to pay a small co-pay and deductible.
Bevin also brought up education and the issue of school-choice, noting that Kentucky is one of seven states that has not adopted some form of charter school legislation and added he believes it is time for that to change.