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House committee to take up Lexington police and fire pension bill, and state pension bill

February 20, 2013 | | Comments 0

By Beth Musgrave
bmusgrave@herald-leader.com

FRANKFORT — A House committee is expected to vote on a bill that would tweak the ailing Lexington police and fire pension fund and will also discuss an overhaul of the state pension system.

Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said Wednesday that the House State Government Committee will not vote on Senate Bill 2, the Senate fix to the state pension plan that includes moving new hires into a 401 (K) hybrid plan.

“It’s discussion only,” Yonts said, who is chairman of the House State Government Committee.

But a vote will be taken on House Bill 430, which will make significant changes to the Lexington police and fire pension fund. The bill would increase the city’s contribution to the fund by $9 million and would tweak benefits. The bill is a compromise that has been hammered out between city officials, police and fire unions and retirees. The bill is expected to cut the unfunded liability in the plan from $296 million to $160 million.

The plan must get legislative approval for significant changes.

Yonts said Wednesday that the House is considering 16 different funding options to fully fund the state’s contribution into the state pension system, which has roughly half the money it needs to pay all future and current retirees. The House has not yet made a decision on which funding option will be pursued. Yonts said that he hoped the House State Government Committee will vote on the House’s version of the pension overhaul within the next few days.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said that he expects the full House to vote on a pension bill by the end of next week. The Senate passed SB 2 earlier this month. The bill would make a host of changes to the system that will likely save millions in future years, Senate Republicans say. House Democrats have said that the Senate plan does not contain an additional $100 million the state will need to fully fund the system come July 1, 2014. Senate Republicans have said that decision can wait until 2014, when the General Assembly writes the two-year budget.

Filed Under: FeaturedKY General AssemblyState Government

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