Letters to the editor: Dec. 9

December 9, 2012 

Employer funds final pension act

Kentucky's Community Mental Health-Mental Retardation Centers congratulate the Public Pensions Task Force for its recommendations. The task force listened to all interested parties, from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce to the Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) to retirees. The views expressed were as diverse as the groups themselves. The task force developed a well-reasoned proposal to address the long-term viability of Kentucky's public pension systems. The task force has completed Act I.

Act II stars the 2013 General Assembly, which must approve legislation implementing the recommendations. The CMHCs and their 9,000 employees are committed to working for passage of the legislation.

Acts I and II are vital, but the final act is paramount. Gov. Steve Beshear and the 2014 General Assembly will have to find the money to make full payment of the actuarially required contribution, projected to be 42.6 percent of payroll. The CMHCs are struggling to cover the current 23.61 percent employer rate and will be unable to maintain current services when the rate increases to 42.6 percent on July 1, 2014. The final act must be funding the required employer contribution for all participating employers, including the CMHCs.

The final act must occur during the 2014 General Assembly. The projected employer contribution of 42.6 percent must be fully funded for the CMHCs and all participating employers.

Steve Shannon

Executive Director

Kentucky Association of Regional Mental Health- Mental Retardation Programs, Inc.

Safer road barriers

Concrete barriers on highways are visually intrusive and have an oppressive air of permanence. They also effectively shut off any animal movement. Animals unfortunate enough to get near these barriers are almost certain to be killed, presenting a safety hazard to humans as well. And yet the Transportation Cabinet is proposing this type barrier to extend from Versailles Road to Georgetown Road as part of a project to widen New Circle Road.

Alternatives do exist. A steel-cable barrier is currently used from Richmond Road to near Leestown Road, so Transportation would actually have to remove the segment from Versailles to Leestown before installing a concrete barrrier. A steel-cable barrier is visually agreeable and animals can negotiate it. I'm not persuaded that the concrete barrier is either the safer or more cost-effective option; details are scant since Transportation didn't even present the steel cable barrier as an option.

Citizens have until Dec. 14 to be heard. Make comments to Joshua Samples, KYTC-District 7, P.O. Box 11127, Lexington, 40512.

John Scott


Better use for money

I could not help but empathize with the little girl on the video crying over the election campaign. Was she tired of the commercials? I was. Was she offended by a negative commercial? I was. The whole process was a burden.

How long does it take to see a candidate, become acquainted with their perspectives and hear about proposed programs? I suspect we get the message in a short time.

I am absolutely mortified at how much money was spent — $6 billion by some estimates. How much food and medical care could that provide? Or how might that be invested to improve education? Or could the money be used on our sadly decaying bridges and roads?

Perhaps someone might help us limit the time and money we spend on elections. Many developed nations do this now.

Imagine a Congressman spending time on legislation, not fundraising. That could improve the quality of their work and public perceptions.

We often picture ourselves as an exceptional people. Is this what keeps us from seeing what we do poorly? Exceptional people learn to provide for human needs better. Exceptional people look and learn from people who do something better. Perhaps it is time to make changes in our election process so that we can be more exceptional.

Richard M. Royalty


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