Calls to not call special session grow as pension debate continues

As groups representing retired Kentucky educators and state workers prepare their case over proposed pension plan fixes, some are asking Governor Matt Bevin not to call for a special session before the general assembly starts again next month.

As members of the Kentucky retired teachers association meet over the proposed pension system fixes, including using 401(k) retirement plans, some lawmakers say a special session should not be called.

"It's a people issue. It's our personal lives are involved in this, it's how we're going to live the rest of our lives," says Rebecca Brown, a former Henderson County teacher, and now leader of the KRTA chapter in western Kentucky.

"The clock's running out on that anyway," adds State Sen. Joe Bowen, R-Daviess County.

KRTA members say they oppose Governor Bevin's plan for a special session, saying it's not responsible to fix only the pensions without doing anything about tax revenues at the same time.

"Because you can't do pension reform without tax reform. To separate those is not the right thing to do," says Harold Wilson, Vice President of the KRTA.

Some Kentucky lawmakers also opposed to having a special session now. Dozens of them recently signed a letter to Governor Bevin asking them not to call for one. State Rep. Suzanne Miles, R-Daviess County, says a special session isn't financially responsible to call for one before they meet in early January. State Sen. Bowen says pension reform must be done in the first weeks of the next session.

"Every day that we put this off, I think it exponentially increases the odds we don't get it done. I think we need to get on it, the first day of the week," he says.

Meanwhile, KRTA members plan to keep talking with representatives and state senators about their concerns on the proposed plans.

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(This story was originally published on December 7, 2017)


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