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Groups, Politicians React To Pension Veto

Posted at 8:09 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 21:45:36-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)- Organizations and politicians are beginning to react to Governor Bevin’s veto of HB 358.

Bevin said in his veto message that he will call a special legislative session before July 1 to give lawmakers another chance on the issue. The Republican governor said the measure violated the “moral and legal obligation” the state has to the affected retirees.

Jim Carroll with the Kentucky Government Retirees released this statement:

We commend Governor Bevin for vetoing a bill that attacked employee contract rights, exposed Kentucky Retirement Systems to unjustified risk, and incurred actuarial substantial costs. The governor’s veto provides an opportunity for a genuine collaboration among representatives of all stakeholders. The path forward must include a funding solution that provides relief to quasi-government agencies while not fiscally damaging the nation’s most vulnerable state pension plan.

House Speaker David Osborne also responded:

We have received the Governor’s veto message. Before passing HB 358, we spent exhaustive amounts of time meeting with the stakeholders, the universities and the quasis, as well as the representative employees of both. We sent the Governor a bill that we believed provided stability for the employers while keeping the state’s commitment to the retirement futures of our employees. I am hopeful that the Governor will begin meeting with us immediately to find a solution that ensures this balance. It is critical that we do this before calling another special session without a solution in hand.

A spokesperson for Kentucky Democrats released a statement criticizing the special session that the governor plans to call:

Once again, Kentucky Republicans want to get paid extra for work they should have already done — costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

Gov. Bevin’s administration appointed the KRS board that worked to spike pension obligations of state agencies, including the quasi-government agencies affected by the governor’s veto. This is a crisis of their own making and it will continue to cost Kentuckians.

Now, Bevin, who just last month said he wouldn’t call a special session, claims he will do just that. This $65K a day guessing game has to stop. Bevin isn’t just playing politics; he is playing with people’s pensions and their lives.

Here is a statement from House and Senate Democratic Leadership:

This is not how you govern. A major pension bill was pushed through on the last day of the legislative session even though the Republicans couldn’t answer basic questions as to how much it would cost or whether it would strip workers of their retirement. The House and Senate Democrats knew this bill was wrong and proposed legislation that would have allowed our rape crisis centers and health departments to stay open for another year while we worked to build consensus for new revenue and a permanent solution. That didn’t happen. Instead Republicans – completely in charge – could not come up with any solution without needing two special sessions within a six-month period, costing Kentucky taxpayers over $60k each day.

 

Tune in to LEX 18 News at 11 for more updates.