Pension talk strictly rumor as no final plan has been made, House leader says

With the buzz around Frankfort continuing to focus on potential changes to the state’s pension systems, House Majority Caucus Chair David Meade tells The Bottom Line that anything heard at this point is only rumor because there is still no final plan or decision in place about those changes from the legislative side.

Rep. Meade said members of the General Assembly expect to be called back to Frankfort likely sometime in October to have a special session based only on changes to the state’s pension systems. As for how they will be reformed, Meade said he expects each system to be looked at separately and no official plans have been made on changes to either.

“I think there are a lot of scare tactics going on out there as to what may be coming,” Meade said. “Anything that someone hears right now, as far as the pension systems are concerned, are strictly rumors. There is nothing that has been decided, there has been no plan laid out. So whatever they hear is strictly rumors at this point because we just simply haven’t gotten into any agreements yet.”

Meade said the same attention to detail and data that has been given to the pension system must be given to tax reforms, which is why he believes those reforms will likely take place in the 2018 session or after.

In terms of how they find the money to fund the systems at the level needed to sustain the systems, Meade said he expects a tough budget session and a bigger discussion on tax reform moving forward which he feels should focus on economic growth.

“Doing pensions first, any changes that we make could be potential savings. So we will know those potential savings going into the budget,” Meade said. “But no matter what we do, we are going to have to have some additional revenue, we are going to have to look at ways to increase revenue. But we need to do that through some type of growth. We have great momentum coming in from the 2017 session and the legislation we passed, we’ve had a record year for investments and companies coming into Kentucky, we’ve had a record year of job growth in Kentucky. So we have to continue on that and expand our tax base through job growth.”

As for other things that will be tackled in the 2018 session outside of the budget, Meade noted his work on the Adoption Task Force and his hope to get some legislation passed on that issue. Meade also said he expects legal liability reforms including peer review bill and a bill to bring essential skills education to Kentucky schools to be on the table in 2018.

Watch the full interview segment with Rep. Meade below:

 

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