Kicking can down road doesn't dent pension shortfall
Senate leaders say addressing the funding crisis for public pensions can wait until the 2014 session. What must bond-rating agencies, state employees and retirees, and most of all, taxpayers think of this bizarre strategy?
The fund covering most state employees, called the KERS non-hazardous fund, is in terrible shape. Defined benefit plans pay retiree benefits mostly from investments, but the KERS non-hazardous plan is barely able to do so. In the last fiscal year, the pension fund had about $2.9 billion in assets and paid out $858 million in benefits.
The state needs to start paying the full amount that actuaries say is needed to sustain the fund each year. This will provide an infusion of cash to stabilize the fund and avert a catastrophic situation that would impact all taxpayers.
Senate leaders evidently believe they have a magic bean that will sprout into a profusion of new dollars next year. They say "trust us," we'll find a solution a year from now. We can be forgiven if we greet this approach with skepticism. After all, the General Assembly has already demonstrated its abysmal track record on fiscal management of the pension system.
All taxpayers need to urge the Senate to toss aside the magic bean, join the House in agreeing on a dedicated funding source now to address the looming crisis, and pass a pension revenue bill this session. We can't afford to wait.
Co-founder, Kentucky Government Retirees
Support SB 9
I am writing to ask for support for Senate Bill 9 — medical review panels. I am a licensed nursing-home administrator in Elizabethtown. I am proud of the quality of care we provide to our residents and I am a strong advocate for quality resident care in Kentucky.
I am offended by personal injury lawyers and their endless stream of newspaper and television ads that serve only to exploit good Kentucky nursing homes and demean the professional care that we provide to residents day in and day out.
SB 9 is not taking away anyone's right to file a lawsuit against a nursing home facility, but providing for an independent medical opinion on the standard of care received at a nursing home facility. I am asking that our legislators support long-term care in Kentucky by focusing on our loved ones, not lawsuits, and vote "yes" for SB 9.
Kathy S. Holderman
Casino revenue awaits
Kentucky is coming to the end of another legislative session in which there will be no gaming legislation. This time it is not an obstructionist Senate but a horse industry which desires a monopoly on casinos that is the roadblock.
The moral question with regard to casinos is not what percentage of Kentuckians will become compulsive gamblers — in relative terms the number is small — but the revenue that casinos could bring to Kentucky, which would help fund much-needed services.
Our taxable dollars are now being spent in Ohio and Indiana to fund their services. (As an aside, I recently attended a concert at Horseshoe Casino in southern Indiana. Most of the cars I saw had Kentucky license plates.)
Our state is facing a multitude of problems. To name just a few: children without quality education; our elderly in need of assistance (the Meals on Wheels program has recently been cut); and funds have been cut for child care assistance and for relatives taking care of abused and neglected children.
Casinos are by no means a panacea for all our problems, but they could provide funding for some of the critical issues facing our states
The tragedy is that our most vulnerable are deprived by a state that is conservative and most regressive.
George B. Hanrahan Jr.
Drink to that
I'm delighted by retired school teacher Roger Guffey's proposal that people who want to base law and social policy on the literal truth of the Bible should be required to demonstrate their sincere belief in that truth.
I regret to point out, though, that his specific "inland taipan" suggestion doesn't quite do the job.
Guffey quotes Mark 16:18: "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; ..."
Note that this doesn't actually promise anything about not being hurt by serpents, it just says they'll take them up. The specific promise is that "if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them."
Therefore it seems clear that the proper way to prove that you really believe the uninterpreted, inerrant literal truth of every word of the Bible is to chug down a nice mug full of fresh Drano (or concentrated bleach or sulfuric acid, or some such — no need to be picky as long as it's deadly) and then show that it hasn't injured your mouth, throat or stomach.
Guffey's principle is beautiful and this would be a more accurate way to apply it.
Bible changes to times
Retired school teacher Roger Guffey states: "take the wording of Mark 16:18 as the literal and unquestionable word of God. The supplicant cannot argue that the passage is open to interpretation, mistranslated, applied only to a certain group of people or to a certain period of time. The word of the Bible is absolutely true so there is no chance of error."
What Guffey refuses to understand about the Bible is that not everything applies to every person in every age alike.
The Jews were told to offer animal sacrifices to God; New Testament Christians are not because Jesus is our one sacrifice for sin for all time.
All of the Bible is divinely inspired and profitable but must be "rightly divided," 2 Timothy 2:15: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
So, this scripture suggests to us that the Bible is open to "interpretation and application" and we do this by "rightly dividing the word of truth."
Applying the Scriptures according to context and times is essential to following and correctly dividing the unerring word of truth.
The proof of a real person of faith is not in his ability to handle snakes, but in his ability to rightly divide the word of truth and not be goaded into a false test for credibility submitted by an unbeliever.
Still going strong
A Feb. 23 letter, written by an obvious cheerleader for Roger Guffey's Feb. 16 column concerning Christian snake handling, was interesting in many ways.
First, these two writers' logic is very disjointed to say the least. Their feeble attempt to discredit and dictate to Christians how to read and interpret the Bible is almost humorous.
How they attempt to defend in an irrational manner their liberal beliefs, using the Bible in their reverse negative manner, is a ruse as old as when Jesus was confronted.
Their only defense of their beliefs on these issues is to mock the Bible and its instructions that have survived over 2,000 years and in most expectations will survive thousands more. There must be something important written there, like life is precious.
Sorry, guys, you lose but Christians love you.
By the way, where is Paul Prather, who writes for this paper, on this issue? Hope we hear from him soon.