Pension Positions from Legislators
I and many others have contacted our state legislators with concerns regarding the teachers’ pension crisis. In the interest of transparency, I am sharing the responses I received so that you may know where these legislators stand.
Thank you, Gay, for contacting me regarding pension reform. Many of you are concerned about the highlights of the proposed pension reform revealed by the Governor and leadership in the House and Senate on October 17, 2017. I have received many emails, letters, and telephone calls. I have talked to many of my constituents about the proposal, and I cannot find anyone in the 90th House District who is for the plan as presented. Unless major changes are made to the proposal, there is no way I can support the pension reform plan. The bottom line is, this is a “no” vote for me.
Thank you again for expressing your concerns to me.
Representative Tim Couch
House District 90
October 25, 2017
Dear Gay Adelmann:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the most important issues I have faced since being sworn into office.
Currently I, like you, have only seen a proposal on possible pension reform. I have not and will not commit to vote for this or any legislation until I have time to fully read that legislation and fully understand it as well.
In the meantime, I would truly appreciate your comments and, more importantly, ask for your input as we seek to insure the financial stability of our pension systems for our retirees, current employees, and future members of the systems.
Thank you for taking the opportunity to express your thoughts and comments on maintaining and preserving the public retirement systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As you well know I too am a member of both Teachers’ Retirement and the Kentucky Retirement Systems. I agree with you 100% it is a moral obligation and you are right to feel secure and confident that your benefits are maintained and not changed from the original agreement you made as an employee of the Commonwealth with regards to your retirement benefits.
I promise you I will fight to guarantee that promise made to you and the thousands of other public employees and retirees throughout Kentucky. Please know I will not support nor vote for any bill or measure that will renege on the inviolable contract agreement. My main objective is to make sure the General Assembly decides on securing and maintaining our obligations in all the retirement system. This is my ultimate goal!
Again, thank you, Teresa, for taking the time to contact me about this major issue regarding our retirement system. I believe that promises made are promises kept. Rest assured will fight with you and for you on this matter.
Rep. Derrick Graham
Dear Ms. Adelman,
With all of the headlines regarding public employees’ pensions lately, I thought it would be helpful to respond to your email.
As I have previously stated, the Kentucky Supreme Court has held that the pension system which covers most existing retirees and employees, is an irrevocable contract between retirees and employees and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. THIS MEANS IT CANNOT BE BROKEN.
The PFM Consulting Group stated that their recommended changes do not violate the inviolable contract. I DO NOT AGREE.
It is important to remember that the PFM Consulting Group does not have the power to change your retirement. NO CHANGE CAN HAPPEN UNLESS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES THE CHANGE.
I assure you that I will actively oppose any change in retirement that violates the inviolable contract.
I encourage all of you to remain active and informed.
Thank you for your service to the Commonwealth.
Our phone number is 502-564-8100- X1634.
Senator Julian Carroll
Thank you for contacting me regarding public employee pensions. I want to be clear – I believe these initial recommendations completely ignore the inviolable contract established with teachers, first responders and public employees across the Commonwealth, whether they are drawing those benefits now or will in the future.
State and local public employees teach our children. They provide for our public safety. They offer much-needed services to our veterans and give assistance to the most vulnerable among us – the elderly, those with special needs, the disadvantaged, and our youth.
Our public employees perform countless services that the private sector cannot, for modest pay, all based on a promise that a livable pension awaits them at the end of their public service. For teachers, the pension benefit is even more crucial since they do not draw social security.
It appears that we are headed for a special session later this year to consider these recommendations, or perhaps others, put forth by the governor and the legislators of his political party. My hope is that they will craft a much more reasonable set of changes to the system that will place it on a path to sustainability while preserving our commitment to a secure retirement for public servants.
You can be assured of this – I will fight long and hard against anything that infringes on the inviolable contract, which binds the Commonwealth, legally and morally, to the promises made to our retirees and government employees. I believe that the laws of the Commonwealth and the Kentucky Supreme Court make clear it is neither legal nor moral to break that promise.
To me, these recommendations represent a continued assault on working men and women all across this Commonwealth, and the long-term interests of the families who rely upon them. In our region, it hits particularly hard, as we continue to wrestle with the negative after-effects of the downturn in the coal economy.
I ask you to join me in letting your voices be heard as we fight against all policies that reduce wages, eliminate benefits and strike at the very heart of the American dream – that we would be able to provide our own families with a better life than we have enjoyed.
I’ll keep in touch, and hope you will, as well. I encourage you to leave me a message by calling the Legislative Message Line toll-free at 1-800-372-7181 or emailing me at email@example.com. Thank you again for this incredible opportunity to serve the region I am so proud to call my home.
Thanks for your e-mail. My home phone is 270 526-6237. I am a former state employee and have been drawing state retirement for the past 21 years. I support KEEPING PROMISES and NO cuts in any retiree’s pension. Several possible funding plans should be given consideration and I think they will be in the 2018 Regular Session starting in January.
Your servant in Frankfort,
Sen. C. B. Embry, Jr. R-Morgantown
I appreciate your contact and concern about the pension system. I attended the meeting of the Republicans consulting group for reform and it was especially harsh on teachers and government retirees. Overall, it is mathematically skewed to harm women the most due to the nature of how they propose to cut benefits.
Unfortunately, the conservative leaders told the consulting group to only make changes to one side of a solution- cutting benefits. That’s not the right way to start the process. The Cabinet did not allow them to consider using revenue to help balance the pension funds. Lack of revenue is primarily what caused the imbalance. It’s like telling a coach you are not allowed to tell your team to fix both the offense and defense. Or telling a team manager, “you can only fix the defense, ignore everything else.” So, this scheme is imbalanced. Some might call it a conservative fake reform plan.
Another harsh requirement was to make law enforcement and firefighters retire at age 60. That is going nowhere and not realistic.
I want the plan to put more emphasis on increasing revenue to pay for the obligations. That doesn’t have to be a tax increase, but there are many tax loopholes that can eliminated because they were for special favors. Also, I know the state is spending huge amounts on services that are performed by businesses already doing the same thing. That’s duplication. The state also spends money on unnecessary items. For example, electronic signage boards inform you while it is cold and snowing, to beware of possibly icy roads up ahead. In addition, many schools and other government agency buyers do not follow the model procurement code and pay too much for products and services. This is frequent.
Some things will need to be changed to keep the system sustainable. For example, our allowed retirement age is much too young compared to other states. Several employees have told our office they would be willing to pay more into their own retirement fund over the years to make it more sustainable. Due to the financial situation, changes will need to be made to keep your pension system viable for the long term future. That should be our goal.
For more details, keep up with my Facebook page http//bit.ly/SRiggs and select the LIKE button. At Twitter search RepSteveRiggs.
Thanks Gay, sorry about those phones, they have been BUSY!! 🙂
Hello Gay. Thank you for your thoughtful e-mail. I agree completely. A promise made must be a promise kept. Hopefully we will move toward a solution soon.Thanks for your service.Best Regards, WStone
You are right! Call Gov Bevin 502-564-2611, he is pushing his pension plan hard. He is a hedge fund operator. Won’t show his taxes!
If you received a response that is not shown here, please forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add it so others can see who is supportive of keeping the pension promise.