Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Pensions! This is the news you need to know in the fight for a secure retirement. We have gathered the top stories about pensions and retirement security from the previous week.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is doubling down on his support of public employees and public pensions. Beshear, who is seeking reelection for a second term, announced his proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which includes a pay raise and the reinstatement of pension benefits for Kentucky State Troopers. “There was a mass exodus of troopers and officers when the defined benefits were taken away, understandably,” Beshear said. “A pension is a promise that I will always keep.”
Beshear’s opponent, Daniel Cameron, who currently serves as Kentucky’s Attorney General, and his running mate, State Senator Bobby Mills, both have a history of supporting anti-pension policies; both backed former Governor Matt Bevin’s attempts to dismantle pensions for Kentucky teachers in 2019. Cameron recently issued a blanket apology to Kentucky’s school administrators for giving “ the impression that we don’t appreciate you or that we don’t respect you.”
Public pension policy is a perpetual battleground in Illinois. Anti-pension groups such as the Reason Foundation and Equable Institute continue to push their “sky is falling” narrative on pensions. Retirement security advocates like NPPC and our allies consistently discredit the anti-pension panic, including this op-ed from Ralph Martire, Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and a Professor of Public Policy at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Martire argues that pension reform in the way of reducing employee benefits does not have a positive impact on a system’s funding ratio. It hurts recruitment and retention, and when fewer employees participate in the system, there are fewer contributions to fund it. Martite notes that Tier 2 employees in Illinois are caught in this catch-22. “If you believe in a concept called “math,” lowering benefits to reduce pension costs doesn’t make sense,” Martire writes. “The data shows benefit levels didn’t cause the unfunded liability to explode in the first place.”
Keep an eye out for a deeper dive into Illinois pensions and opposition involvement there on our blog, Defined Benefit, in the coming days.
Be sure to check back next Friday for the latest news in the fight for a secure retirement! For now, sign up for NPPC News Clips to receive daily pension news from across the country directly to your inbox.