The future of pensions in Kentucky has left many workers in fear as their pensions are in question.

Henderson County State Senator Dorsey Ridley says, “The pension issue in Kentucky really is the burning issue that we have currently.”

The word pension is a word that strikes a chord to many. But in Kentucky, it’s become so much more. 

“We have got to stabilize the situation and we have got to do it quickly,” Ridley says.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin says the state has the worst funded pension system in America and the state could owe an estimate of $80 billion in pension liability.

Bevin’s pension reform plan would shift retirement plans for non-hazardous state employees, like teachers and police officers from fixed benefit pension to fixed contribution plans, more like a 401k. 

State employees would also be required to contribute 3% of their salary toward retirement health programs, something that’s caused a lot of criticism. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says, “Well my main concern with the pension plan that’s been put out by the governor is that it won’t work.”

Some workers are so concerned about the uncertainty, they’re retiring. 

Ridley says, “Just in the last 48 hours we’ve had two cities with chiefs of police who have retired and it’s all because of their fear of what could happen and bringing that type of fear was the wrong thing to have done.”

Attorney Brent Yonts says, “The crisis needs to be looked at a greater area than they’re looking in now.”

Beshear says the legislature could change people’s retirement plan at the blink of an eye, but says he’s fighting to change it.

“If you like that job, if you still want to be in that school room teaching kids, hang in there we’re looking out for you,” Beshear says. 

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(This story was originally published November 12, 2017)