FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Latest on a bill to overhaul Kentucky’s public pension systems (all times local):
The top Republican in the Kentucky House says it’s premature to say there’s no hope for a bill to overhaul the state’s public pension plans.
Acting House Speaker David Osborne told reporters Wednesday that House Republicans are still interested in tackling the issue. But he says he doesn’t know what that plan will look like.
Osborne says comments by a fellow Republican, Gov. Matt Bevin, have “clouded” the pension debate. Osborne says when policy arguments become personal, it makes it difficult to talk about facts.
In an interview on WVLC radio Tuesday, Bevin said teachers opposing the pension changes were “ignorant” and were “throwing a temper tantrum.” He said if protesting teachers get what they wish, there won’t be a pension system for the next generation. He called that “remarkably selfish and short sighted.”
The top leader in the Republican-led Kentucky Senate is sounding increasingly pessimistic about prospects for a bill to overhaul the state’s public pension systems.
Senate President Robert Stivers told reporters Wednesday that the bill faces a “very limited and difficult path forward” in the remaining days of this year’s regular legislative session.
The bill has stalled as thousands of teachers across Kentucky have mobilized to defeat it.
The proposal would cut benefits for some retired teachers while making structural changes some lawmakers say are necessary to save the retirement system from collapse. Supporters tout it as a way to reap an estimated $3.2 billion in taxpayer savings over the next 20 years.
Stivers says the consequences will be serious for local governments and their pension obligations if the measure fails.