Feb. 13, 2014: Our readers write

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Retirees urged to watch legislation

State and county government retirees will be closely watching the events of the Kentucky General Assembly 2014 legislative session. At stake are the pensions and benefits of retirees, current and future.  

Like many across the nation, our members, as well as those who will soon retire, continue to be very concerned about the future of their promised retirement pensions. The current legislative session will have a significant impact.

At the forefront is the unfunded liability of the Kentucky Employees Retirement System. Kentucky is ranked among the worst in the nation for its underfunded retirement plan.  

Several bills have been introduced that could create an impact, including HB 137, introduced by Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville. The bill allows for the deposit of out-of-state sales and use tax monies into the KRS unfunded liability trust fund.  

Introduced by Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, HB 68, or the gaming bill, would establish the Kentucky public pension stabilization fund, wagering taxes levied by the act. 

Senate Bill 2, enacted during the 2013 legislative session, set forth the actuarially recommended contribution of 100 percent to the KERS nonhazardous plan. Currently, only 57 percent of that is being paid. An estimated $755 million will be required to fully fund KERS and SPRS (State Police Retirement Systems) each year in the upcoming biennium. 

House Resolution 29, a resolution supporting legislative action to pay the full actuarially required contribution rates to the KRS, and HR 30, to support legislative action to provide a dedicated revenue source to fund the ARC for KERS and SPRS, are both co-sponsored by Reps Graham and Kay. Although resolutions are not the same as law, these demonstrate the importance and urgency of meeting the funding requirement.

Nearly 180,000 members are covered through the KRS. 

Our retirement plans remain severely underfunded and it is vitally important that the General Assembly fully fund those plans. We encourage our members to contact their legislators, and we trust that our legislators will support those whose careers have been devoted to the people of this Commonwealth.

Paul R. Guffey

President, Kentucky Public Retirees

Cut Congress, not food stamps

I just got through reading about the passages of the farm bill and the food stamp cuts and I have a couple of thoughts. I’d like to call this “WE the People” if I can. It seems that the President would like to totally bypass Congress to get what “HE” wants. Since Obama thinks that Congress and everybody up on Capitol Hill can’t do “THEIR” job, I would like to suggest the following.

If “WE the people” let Obama do this, let the people do this to offset all the government cuts. First off, let’s reduce the House from 435 seats to 110 seats. You’ll have two per state and a board of 10 to break all ties. The 10 would be appointed to office by the Supreme Court. Cut the Senate to just 50 seats and a board of five again appointed by Supreme Court. 

Also in doing this, you would have to also remove all the “Ash and Trash” from these offices. I mean the coffee go getters, the pillow softeners, the dry cleaner getters etc. 

If “WE the people” do this, “We” also would have to cut the staff of Mrs. Obama. Let us cut 12 from her staff of about 23 I think. 

I’ve been trying to come up with a dollar amount for this. All these cuts would come from the lower paid people I think. The numbers I’ve come up is just a rough guess and would save the “People” about $141,470,000 per year. And this savings would add up over the years. And I think it would be good for “We the People.”

If we don’t, everybody on Capitol Hill would be getting silent pay raises that the people would not be hearing about. So that $800 million that they plan on cutting out of the budget would only be spent giving back to people on Capitol Hill as pay raises.  

Glen E. Basham Jr.