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Gov. Bevin issues statement on pension report: ‘We must act now’

Gov. Matt Bevin
Gov. Matt Bevin

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2017) — Gov. Matt Bevin said on Monday that the PFM Group’s latest report further confirms the need for urgency to resolve Kentucky’s pension crisis.

“Change is necessary. Time is not our ally—we must act now to get our financial house in order. There is no other viable option. 

“I am convinced we can get this done and am committed to doing so. For those now retired, for those still working and for those yet to come: we will save the public retirement systems. 

“We will not kick the can down the road any longer. We were elected to fix this problem and we will. The fiscal abuse of Kentucky’s retirement systems is over.” 

A copy of PFM’s report can be downloaded here.  

Summary presentation to the Public Pension Oversight Board (PPOB) can be downloaded here.

PPOB pension presentation can be downloaded here.  

The Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants (KyCPA) a statewide, non-profit professional organization serving nearly 5,000 CPAs in public accounting firms, business, industry, government, and education, released the following statement on today’s PPOB meeting:

“Now that the third and final pension report from the PFM financial consulting firm has been released, all stakeholders can agree on one thing: inaction is not an option. These systems are growing at a rate far higher than general fund revenue growth, and if they are not reformed, the systems could simply run out of money for pay benefits. Already, we are seeing pension funding absorbing dollars that should be going to education and vital services. We cannot fail public retirees and current and future employees, and we cannot fail taxpayers. This fiscal crisis downgrades the Commonwealth’s credit standing, raises borrowing costs, and increases future tax liabilities, which all weaken Kentucky’s business climate.

“As a group of financial professionals, the Kentucky Society of CPAs is committed to working towards aggressive reforms to our state’s public pension systems. We applaud Gov. Bevin and the General Assembly for pledging to address this critical issue, and we look forward to working with them during the special session later this year.” – KyCPA Chief Executive Officer Penny Gold.

“We anticipated that tough choices will have to be made to secure and stabilize Kentucky’s pension system,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, Greater Louisville Inc.’s COO. “The current state of the Kentucky Retirement System is unsustainable and immediate action is required to address the contributing factors that have caused the state’s downgraded bond rating. At this time, we are reviewing all of the findings and recommendations in the PFM Report and evaluating the path forward to ensure pension obligations are met, restructured in a sustainable way, and that the commonwealth’s credit rating is improved. GLI looks forward to working with the Bevin administration and the General Assembly to ensure these reforms will have a positive impact on Greater Louisville’s business community. ”

State Auditor Mike Harmon said: “Today’s meeting confirms what I have been saying for years as a legislator, and now as Kentucky’s Auditor of Public Accounts, which is that we can no longer kick the can down the road on addressing the serious issues with funding our public pension systems.

“The recommendations made today by PFM are just that, only recommendations. But they do provide a starting point for discussions on how best to move forward. It will be up to Governor Bevin, and the leadership in the House and Senate led by Speaker Hoover and Senate President Stivers to develop legislation that will fund the system and honor the inviolable contract with our retired and active state employees.

“As a member of the Public Pension Oversight Board, I will remain active in the discussion to encourage policy makers to honor commitments that have been made while providing stability to the pension systems going forward.”

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