As an anticipated special session on pensions approaches, it is becoming clear that Frankfort decision-makers are considering attempting to walk away from their legal obligation to provide pension benefits. Kentucky Retirement Systems stakeholders won’t stand for it.
As I noted in remarks recently to a legislative panel, KRS members have already made sacrifices to address the pension crisis. Our cost-of-living adjustments, a valuable benefit but a contributor to our unfunded liabilities, were discontinued years ago. Our defined benefit plans were replaced for new hires with a less-expensive hybrid plan.
We will not accept cuts to benefits promised under an inviolable contract enunciated in state law. If a bill is considered that reduces promised benefits, we will storm the Capitol with torches and pitchforks. If it is signed into law, we will litigate.
The pension crisis was created by years of employer underfunding. Taxpayers should be outraged that a succession of governors and legislators failed to do the simple job of providing adequate employer contributions for modest benefits.
Modernizing our tax system to meet critical needs is an important step toward stabilizing pensions. As KRS stakeholders, we call on Frankfort decision-makers to step up to the challenge.