Bevin administration launches pension education website ahead of special session

As a special session to tackle pension reform expected this fall nears, the Bevin administration announced Thursday afternoon that the Office of the State Budget Director has launched a comprehensive new website aimed at keeping Kentuckians informed as the governor and lawmakers work to find solutions to the pension crisis.

The site, KentuckyPensions.com, features answers to frequently asked questions, view detailed reports and a glossary of key terms, follow the latest developments, and offer feedback.

Specifics about the crisis are highlighted on the website including figures about the $64 billion unfunded pension liability, which averages out to $15,000 per Kentuckian, and makes the statement that if previous funding patterns continued, the KERS plan would run out of money by 2022.

“We hope that retirees, current state employees, and all Kentuckians will find this website to be a helpful, easy-to-navigate tool,” State Budget Director John Chilton said in a statement. “As we address this vital and complex issue, we want to educate the public, dispel myths, and set the stage for constructive dialogue.  We will continue to update the website as things progress.”

Under a section on the website about solutions to the pension crisis, the administration says no final decisions with respect to any changes to the pension structures have been made.

“Ultimately, the best solution to Kentucky’s financial challenges is economic growth. That means more private sector businesses hiring more employees that pay more taxes,” the website states.

The information website comes before the final phase of an audit with recommended changes is scheduled to be released at a meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board on August 28. All other phases of that report and other research are also listed on the site.

Bevin is expected to call members of the General Assembly back to Frankfort this fall to make reforms to the systems.

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