FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Lawmakers have less than three weeks before pension rates for a lot of state agencies skyrocket.
It’s a potential crisis that could affect health departments, rape crisis centers and regional universities.
Last week, Governor Matt Bevin released changes to his proposed pension bill, but at this point, there are not enough votes to pass it.
So on Monday, House Democrats sent a letter to the governor, saying they want to freeze the contribution rate to avoid the crisis and they want to be part of a bipartisan, permanent solution.
On June 12, Governor Bevin responded by saying Democrats offered no solution, and their best “idea” is to kick the can down the road.
The House Democrats did respond with another letter.
You can find all three of these letters by clicking on the links below.
Tonight, we asked House Democrats, Republicans and the governor for their reaction.
“We don’t have time for letters that are disrespectful to each other. We don’t have time for that,” said House Minority Leader, and Democrat, Rep. Rocky Adkins.
On July 1, if nothing is done, the contribution rates for quasi governmental agencies jumps from 49 percent, to 83 percent.
“This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is a people issue, and it needs to be dealt with in that manner,” said Rep. Adkins.
Leader Adkins says the governor called his office last week to discuss changes to the pension bill.
“We had a good conversation, but at the end of the day, after we evaluated his recommendations, they really didn’t do anything to turn anybody to be for his bill,” said Rep. Adkins.
When we spoke to Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer on June 6, he said people need to get their heads out of the sand, and make reforms.
“At this point, maybe we just shouldn’t have a special session and people need to see how bad this pension crisis really is,” said Sen. Thayer.
“Let’s figure out a way forward, and let’s come to compromise to help with this situation that’s going to have a tremendously negative impact on communities across Kentucky,” said Rep. Adkins.
The House Minority Leader has invited the governor to speak directly to the Democratic caucus.
We asked the Governor’s office for a response to the Democrats’ latest letter. This was their reply to LEX 18 news:
“The Governor’s letter to House Democrats speaks for itself. The Governor’s plan has been in the public sphere for more than a month, and House Democrats have yet to offer any reasonable alternative other than underfunding the pension system.”
Statement from House Speaker David Osborne on House Democrats participation in “quasi” and regional university pension proposal:
“For decades, Kentucky’s political leadership failed to fund the public pension plan or provide proper oversight. This negligence has created the problems we face today. Even now they are not willing to recognize that kicking the can is not a strategy, it is dodging responsibility. While Majority Leadership and the Governor have been actively engaged in reaching resolution, House Democrats have offered nothing more than a freeze, which will only cost taxpayers and the pension system millions of dollars with no long-term solution. No viable proposals have come from the minority. They have consistently refused to recognize that we can’t afford to continue ignoring this problem. These agencies and universities, as well as their employees and the people they serve, deserve better.”