Why Kentucky's Public Pension Debt Just Grew by $2 Billion

May 18, 2017

Credit Sergey Kuzmin, 123RF Stock Photo

Kentucky's public pension debt grew by roughly $2 billion on Thursday when state regulators made dramatic changes to long-held investment assumptions. 

The changes mean the unfunded liability for the Kentucky Employees Retirement Systems Non Hazardous system grew to $13 billion from $11 billion. State taxpayers will have to pay significantly more into the system to keep it solvent. Just how much will not be known until later this year.

The changes happened because the Kentucky Retirement Systems board of trustees decided to lower estimates on payroll growth, inflation and investment returns. It means Kentucky now has 13 percent of the money it owes to its retirees over the next 30 years, which means it is among the worst funded systems in the country.

Board members delayed changes to a retirement system for local government employees.