Senator Jimmy Higdon and State Representative Daniel Elliott addressed a packed courtroom at the Casey County Judicial Center yesterday in a town hall forum concerning public pension reform.
Sen. Higdon told the crowd the legislature is largely to blame, and is working on a solution, however, they are dealing with massive shortfalls. The KERS retirement system is only about 17% funded, the CERS program is about 50-58% funded, the teachers retirement, or TRS system is at 55-56%, while the legistlative/judicial retirement system is 85% funded.
There were several questions from the audience concerning teacher sick days, benefits, and 401K's. Another concern is spikes in the systems from large numbers of people retiring at once to try & salvage their benefits, while leaving a struggling education system understaffed with inferior educators.
Both Higdon & Rep. Elliott assert there are no quick fixes, but the legislature is working on the problem.
It was suggested at yesterday's town hall that our state government follow the Tennessee model of higher sales taxes and lower, or no income tax to alleviate the financial burden.
Higdon says the goal is to find a fair and stable system. He says there is no silver bullett, or magic wand to fix the problem.
We could see a special session sometime late October/early November.
If they can come up with a bill, and if it passes, it could take effect as early as July 2018.