Proposed pension reforms look to be a mixed bag

Knee-jerk reactions to Gov. Matt Bevin’s and legislative leaders’ proposed pension reforms will be plentiful in the days ahead. Amid the “hot takes” by commentators and interest groups after Bevin’s Wednesday press conference, we appreciated the measured response of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association.

The organization, while questioning the long-term math used by Bevin and lawmakers, said it appreciates “that policymakers have listened to our concerns and have indicated their willingness to keep their commitment to retired educators.”

KRTA emphasized that it “has not taken any position on any possible reforms” and that “once a full proposal emerges, we look forward to working with lawmakers to provide our input.”

Indeed, Republican leaders have given Kentuckians much to digest in a package of changes designed to shore up badly underfunded public pensions over the next 30 years. To his credit, Bevin didn’t immediately set a date for a legislative special session in which lawmakers will consider the proposal. We hope he and lawmakers will provide plenty of time for public input.

Retired government workers, current state employees and taxpayers — in other words, all Kentuckians — should use the coming weeks to carefully consider every facet of pension reform and tell their senators and representatives what they think about each proposed change.

Our early take is that current retirees would emerge relatively unscathed in the package of changes, that pension reform could be much worse for current state workers than what Bevin and legislative leaders have proposed, and that retirement saving and planning will be dramatically different for future state workers. But we look forward to scrutinizing the details, educating readers on our news pages and offering constructive thoughts in this space in the days and weeks ahead.

State Journal of Frankfort