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Kentucky Chamber Urges Lawmakers to Act on Pension Crisis

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce says citizens need to understand of  scope of the state’s public pension crisis. 

Governor Matt Bevin's proposed budget makes a down payment on what could be a 20 to 30-year effort. 

The $36 billion shortfall in Kentucky’s public pension plans is more than three-and-a-half times the total general fund tax money the state collected last year. 

Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson says it will take decades to fix the problem after years of neglect, but the effort must start in the current legislative session.  He adds that the drain on state coffers poses a threat to essential services.

"If you’re a student in school, a student at the university or the community college, if you’re someone who expects police protection when you’re on the highways, when you expect a decent state park when you take your family on vacation, all of those things are jeopardized because of this pension system problem," Adkisson explained.

The state Chamber of Commerce has launched a public awareness campaign to help Kentuckians understand the scope of the problem.  If the pension crisis isn’t addressed, Adkisson warns it could put public projects on hold, make it harder to attract new companies to the state, and lead to higher interest rates on state bonds.

The award-winning news team at WKU Public Radio consists of Dan Modlin, Kevin Willis, Lisa Autry, and Joe Corcoran.
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