Kentucky Democratic Party Responds to Pension Letter

Feb 13, 2018

Credit J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The Kentucky Democratic Party says pension reform shouldn’t come from a demand letter by wealthy Republican activists. 

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported that in the letter to members of the General Assembly, the state GOP chairman said any pension changes must include moving future teachers and state workers from a defined benefits system to a defined contribution plan.  The letter was also signed by national anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and Bill Samuels, Jr., chairman emeritus of Makers Mark, among others. 

Kentucky Democratic Party Spokesman Brad Bowman says Democrats who are opposed to moving public workers to a 401k-style plan have offered suggestions on tax reform and new sources of revenue to shore up the pension systems.

"There's been amicable, meaningful conversation from constituents all across Kentucky about what needs to happen with pension reform, but the Republican majority has chosen to not pay attention to that," Bowman told WKU Public Radio.

The letter, posted on Facebook by Democratic State Senator Robin Webb, stated that not moving future public employees to a 401k-style retirement system would be ignoring the “structure problems at the heart of the crisis.”  Opponents argue that switching future hires to a defined contribution plan would be more costly and result in less financial security for retirees.