kentucky pensions

LRC Public Information

Analysts say Kentucky will need to hire more state employees or have them pay more into the retirement system in order to reverse the state’s pension crisis, painting a grim portrait of Kentucky’s main public pension system.


The LaRue County Republican Party has passed a resolution urging the Kentucky General Assembly to fix the state’s crumbling pension system.

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It was the best of pensions, it was the worst of pensions.

In 2013, the $14.5 billion Kentucky Retirement Systems' investment portfolio drastically underperformed its cousin—the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System—by about $1 billion.

Moreover, last year the KRS underperformed the average public pension's investment plan by about $500 million.

What's the difference?

A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet retiree from Marshall County is on the ballot for the state pension system’s Board of Trustees.

Peter Wolff says he’s concerned about the Kentucky Employees Retirement System.

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Kentucky's state pension systems are slated to have to pay out more than $17 billion that the state doesn't have.

That's according to William Thielen, who is director of the Kentucky Retirement Systems. Thielen testified before lawmakers in Frankfort Monday.

Gov. Steve Beshear says he's a fan of Instant Racing for Kentucky's horse racing tracks—but he's not sure if legalizing the gambling format would be used to fund the state's struggling pension system.

Meanwhile, Beshear said casino gambling is not happening this year.

House Democratic leaders says they are looking at legalizing the slots-like game statewide to help generate at least $25 million a year to help fully fund pension obligations. Only two tracks, Ellis Park and Kentucky Downs, currently have the game.

Kentucky Senate courtesy Commonwealth of Kentucky

The next legislative session begins on January 8, and lawmakers say fixing the state's flailing pension systems will be their top priority.

A legislative task force has suggested several ways to shore up state employee pensions, but passing legislation and paying for it will be tough.

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State employees with higher pensions should pay more to help the underfunded systems recover, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said in a recent interview.

One thing Stumbo doesn't want to see is lawmakers floating bonds to help pay for the state’s underfunded pensions.

Todd Hatton

Candidates for Kentucky’s 2nd District State House of Representatives both say they won’t take a pension if elected in November, but they differ on whether or not a pension should be offered to lawmakers. Kentucky’s pension system is one of the worst in the country in terms of unfunded liabilities. Heath has endorsed a pension plan for lawmakers that two GOP candidates have proposed. That plan would change the current full pension for lawmakers to an optional 401K plan for incoming lawmakers.

Pew report cites $23B shortfall in KY public pensions

Aug 31, 2012
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A new report shows Kentucky has a more than $23 billion shortfall in what should have been set aside to fund pensions for retired state employees.  The Pew Center for the States and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation released the report Thursday.   The report says the shortfall is more than twice the amount of all revenue generated from state taxes in the Commonwealth last year.  Public Pensions Task Force co-chairs, Republican Senator Damon Thayer and Democratic Representative Mike Cherry, say fixing the problem will require hard choices, good information and thoughtful analysis.   The T