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Kentucky editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:
Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader on state legislature must fund pensions:
On the closing day of the 2013 General Assembly, state lawmakers passed a “pension reform” bill and a companion measure expected to generate about $100 million annually in new revenue.
Ostensibly, the extra money will allow legislators to fulfill the commitment made in the reform part of the package to fully fund the state’s share of the actuarially recommended contribution (ARC) to the beleaguered Kentucky Retirement Systems starting with the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2014.
Unfortunately, this reform and revenue package contained no direct linkage between the commitment and the money.
Instead of creating a dedicated revenue stream for the pension fund, lawmakers chose to let the new tax dollars go into the General Fund and rely on their (and their successors’) integrity to live up to the commitment to fully fund the ARC.
The integrity of current legislators, the ones who made the commitment not so many months ago, will be challenged as they get to work on the budget Gov. Steve Beshear will propose in an address to a joint session of the House and Senate Tuesday night.
And more than 20 years of history suggests they may try to avoid fulfilling their commitment to fund the ARC.
So, the temptation for lawmakers to abandon their 2013 commitment and once again succumb to their decades-old habit of robbing state pension plans to pay for other programs and services will also be great. They must not do so. They must shake their addiction and fully fund the ARC, in the next biennial budget and all the budgets to come.
If they do not, if they break another promise and shirk another responsibility with another exercise in fiscal insanity, they all need to be sent home in November.
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