By Greg Bird
Governor Matt Bevin is calling a special session starting tomorrow, calling for the legislature to pass a bill providing regional universities, health departments, community health centers and other quasi-agencies relief from rising pension costs.
The Governor has stated earlier this year that he intended to call a special session to deal with parts of the looming pension crisis, but was unable to find a time for legislators who were willing to vote on the bill to return to Frankfort until now.
Bevin introduced the bill in May, which will extend a freeze for an additional year on pension costs for universities and quasi-public agencies. Those entities saw their pension costs surge as of July 1, causing concerns of their ability to remain open with the higher costs.
The proposal holds the pension costs for the agencies at 49 percent of their payroll instead of 87 percent, which is what the rest of state government pays. After that, the public employers must choose: Stay with Kentucky Retirement Systems at full cost or exit the state’s pension system, either by making one lump sum payment to clear their liabilities or setting up a 30-year payment plan that gradually increases each year.
“This bill has been thoroughly vetted and improved with input from legislators,” a statement from the Governor’s Office read. “It is the only fiscally responsible plan that provides our regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies with a path to a sustainable future.”