Crowd gathers at state capitol for pension rally

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - Hundreds of people gathered at the state capitol to oppose Governor Matt Bevin's planned changes to the state pension crisis.

State workers, educators and retirees all voiced their concerns over the 505-page proposal.

While Governor Bevin says the GOP plan to fix the ailing pension system honors the promises made to public employees and retirees, many people say they feel robbed.

They believe this plan will make it harder to attract good teachers and public employees. They are asking legislators to look at the tax reform and other sources of revenue to fund the current pension system.

Katie Hancock, a state worker, says she is worried about her family as the plans call for a three percent additional contribution for teachers and other public employees in order to fund retiree health care plans.

"Every single paycheck we pay into this. The promise is, we are going to get that in return," said Hancock.

The proposed bill calls for new employees to move to a 401-K style plan and current employees have their pension benefits frozen once they hit 27 years of service.

"We live paycheck to paycheck and sometimes it's like, what do you do? Do you pay the electric bill or do you get some extra groceries?" said Hancock.

The crowd asked for legislators to look at tax reform before pension reform to find ways to fund the system.

"I would like to see expanded gambling and I would like to see marijuana legalized. I think there are funding opportunities," said Cecila Mitchell, a retired state worker.

Among the crowd was Christina Frederick-Trosper. Frederick-Trosper traveled nearly 130 miles from Barbourville to have her voice heard. She says under the defined-contribution plan, school districts would have to contribute a percentage toward retirement, which is a new expense.

"Districts like Owsley County will begin the school year in the red. Knox County - we are going to have to come up with $800,000 which is a lot in our community," said Frederick-Trosper.

People say they don't believe this should be a partisan issue, rather one people on both sides of the aisle care about.

"It's time to come together and find a solution that really honors the promise," said Fayette County Superintendent "Manny" Caulk.

"We are a Commonwealth and if we do not work together, it's all going to fail.," said Frederick-Trosper.

Christina Frederick-Trosper also expressed her frustration in the town hall meeting about pensions in Knox County. You can watch that here.

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