Education
2:45 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

General Counsel: New State Budget Doesn't Fix Pension Woes for Kentucky Teachers

The $20 billion budget passed by Kentucky lawmakers underfunds teachers’ pensions, giving the system hundreds of millions of dollars less than requested to keep it afloat.

Public school teachers in Kentucky don’t get Social Security benefits. They can’t even claim their spouses’ either. So that makes their pensions all the more important. 

But the already tight-as-a-snare-drum budget passed by lawmakers continues to underfund the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System by about half the amount they need to bring the system -- which is currently about $13 billion short -- into the black.

Beau Barnes is general counsel for the KTRS. He says that changes in federal accounting laws will only compound the problem.

“The sooner the funding issue can be addressed, the better, because the longer it takes, the more difficult it’s going to be to address because the funding status will continue to decline,” said Barnes.  “The GASB accounting measure of unfunded liability would have the pension fund running out of money in about 2036.”

Barnes says he’s optimistic the situation won’t come to that, and is looking forward to working with the governor and the legislature to address a problem to which, so far, they’ve given little more than lip service.