KY Pension Bailout May be Left off Special Session Agenda

April 6, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher continues to hold out hope of a special legislative session - but one that may not include the state pension system bailout.

A Louisville Courier-Journal news report said Fletcher admitted during comments to the Lexington Forum, a business group, that the pension issue might be left off of the agenda for a special session .

“We’re assessing which things we would put on a special session,” Fletcher said, according to the news report.

However, asked after his speech whether he would include the pension issue, Fletcher said, “At this point, unless I see movement coming together on the pension, I’m not sure that that could be part of the special session. But I’m not ruling it out at this time.”

During the recent legislative session, the state Senate approved a proposal to borrow more than $800 million and to cut back benefits to future state employees (See  KY Senate OKs Bond Sale to Repay Pension Debt ). But their counterparts in the House turned it away, asserting that the issue needed more study (See  KY House Blocks Senate Bond Sale Proposal ).

Senate President David Williams conceded that the pension measure likely will have to wait. “I agree with him (Fletcher) on that because the House refuses to talk about the pension situation,” he said.

House Democratic Whip Rob Wilkey said the Senate pension plan requires more study because the actuary for the Kentucky Retirement Systems testified last month that he was uncertain if it would save the state any money.

This week Fletcher appointed a task force to study the unfunded liabilities of the retirement systems for state and local government workers and teachers. It is to make recommendations by December 1.