By Jacqueline Pitts, The Bottom Line
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin vetoed a bill seeking to allow state universities and other government entities to exit the state’s ailing pension system. In his veto message, Bevin stated while he appreciates the efforts of the General Assembly on this difficult issue, “we can do better” and added he intends to call a special session to address the topic before July 1, 2019.
After much discussion about how to provide relief to Kentucky’s regional universities and quasi-governmental agencies struggling with the growing costs of pension benefits, lawmakers passed a bill on the final night of the 2019 session that would have allowed those groups a way out of the pension plan and freeze their contribution rates for now.
The issue came about as many universities have said the crushing pension costs are forcing higher tuition and layoffs. Likewise, many quasi-governmental agencies have publicly said they are facing bankruptcy and the possibility of closing their doors as a result of the pension costs.
The original bill introduced early on in the 2019 session would have dealt only with the regional universities who crafted the plan and quasi agencies were added later in the process.
“Because I am committed to protecting the services, I will call an Extraordinary session of the Kentucky General Assembly prior to July 1, 2019 to provide the relief necessary to protect the Salton Sea of these entities and their ability to provide services, while at the same time maximizing funding to KERS and protecting the in viable contract rights of retirees,” Bevin wrote in his veto statement.
Continue to check The Bottom Line for updates on a pension special session.