State workers rally against proposed state pension system changes

Published: Dec. 2, 2017 at 5:13 PM EST
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People united against Governor Matt Bevin's proposed pension system changes.

In October, Governor Bevin proposed fixing the state's now failing pension system, which is $60 billion in the hole, by switching future state workers from a system where workers pay into one state pension fund to a 401K system where workers would pay into their own funds.

"When you put the money in lots of little pots instead of a big pot, a lot gets lost in the shuffle," said Erin Grace who participated in Saturday's rally against the proposed pension changes.

For years state workers paid into the state's pension system, while the state itself did not.

"The state decided not to pay it because it didn't have the money, and so what they did was they funded other things, which was good for all Kentuckians at the time, but what's happened is the bill is now due," Nema Brewer, who also attended the rally said.

Rally participants said the state should consider increasing revenue by bringing in a new industry to the state, such as medical marijuana.

"That's real controversial for some people, but the bottom line is it's happening all around us, 20 something states already have it, we just have to find legislative courage and the courage within ourselves to say you know what this is going to be good for our state, we're going to put some people back to work and we're going to make some money off of it," said Brewer.

Because participants said keeping quality state workers in Kentucky is crucial.

"We all use public services, every single day and our kids and our grandkids do too, so it's important that we have a system of public service and public workers that is robust and well taken care of," Grace said.

Governor Bevin has proposed a special session before the regular legislative session, January 2nd. People at the rally said they are against this, as it would cost taxpayers, even more, money when it could be discussed during the regular session.

The proposed pension plan changes will impact new teachers, road workers, police officers, firefighters and more.