Gov. Beshear Promotes Pension Reform, Education in Commonwealth Address

Wednesday night, Governor Steve Beshear hammered home the need for pension reform in Kentucky.

It's arguably the biggest issue facing Kentuckians, and one of the biggest reasons why, is the fact the state didn't fund the plan adequately.

"Every year that we did not put in the money we should have to meet the promise has snowballed into this huge unfunded pension system. In fact, it's less than half funded, meaning that at this point there is not enough money to pay the promise that has been made," said financial expert, Jeanne Fisher.

While the Governor called for reform he said he won't sacrifice certain things.

"I can tell you exactly why we haven't funded the arc since I became Governor, because we had insufficient revenues, and it would have required us to gut our most fundamental priorities, K-12 education, public safety, and job creation. As we work to make our public pension system whole again, I will not allow our school children to be collateral damage," said Beshear.

Gov. Beshear has made education a staple of his administration, and Wednesday he called on the legislature to support the graduation bill that would raise the dropout age in Kentucky from 16 to 18.

"In Kentucky alone, 6,000 students drop out every year. They are more likely to be unemployed, to earn significantly less money if they do find work, and to find themselves on welfare or in prison," said Beshear.

"We know that over the next three to five years that less than ten percent of the jobs in the state will be filled by individuals who have less than a high school education. We know the importance of a student remaining in school, and receiving their high school diploma," said Bowling Green Superintendent Joe Tinius.

Other things the Governor wants to do is tweak the pill mill bill that combats prescription drug abuse, and boost revenue through tax reform.

A bill regarding pension reform made it out of committee today. It would create a hybrid 401K plan for new state employees. It will now go to the full senate for discussion and a vote.

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