KY Local Governments Could Get More Time to Fund Retiree Health Care

March 13, 2009 ( - A bill to give Kentucky cities and counties short-term financial relief from retiree health care costs was approved by the state Senate budget committee.

The Courier-Journal reports that House Bill 117 would increase to 10 years from the current five the amount of time cities, counties, and schools have to fully fund retiree health-care costs. According to a Legislative Research Commission analysis of the bill, it would save local governments and schools an estimated $40 million in the next fiscal year and $60 million in 2010, the news report said.

However, the analysis showed it would cost them $120 million more over the next two decades. Bill Thielen, chief operations officer for the Kentucky Retirement Systems, told the committee that the bill “will increase the funding problems that the retirement system is now facing,” according to the news report.

While Senator Charlie Borders, the chairman of the committee, said he was inclined to agree with Thielen, he pointed out that local officials had argued that the short-term relief was badly needed in the current economic climate.

The measure now goes to the Senate floor.