The following letter regarding legislative pension abuse was recently published by the Courier-Journal:
The ‘Greed Bill’
Would you like to have the power to determine your own retirement package at work? I’m sure you would. But would it be fair? Probably not. In 2005, the Kentucky General Assembly asserted that power in House Bill 299 that later became known as the “Greed Bill” because it enhanced legislators’ pensions far beyond the bill’s original intent.
For instance, HB 299 introduced the practice of “reciprocity,” which allows legislators to calculate their legislative pensions on their full-time salaries in other state or local government jobs rather than on their part-time compensation as lawmakers. This often results in part-time politicians getting super-sized pensions. Former Senate President David Williams recently accepted a judgeship offered to him by Gov. Steve Beshear. Williams’ new position has a much higher annual salary which HB 299 allows him to apply to his high-three year calculation to fatten his legislative pension.
“Reciprocity” provides an avenue for pension abuse by lawmakers. Until the very lawmakers who voted themselves a taxpayer-funded golden parachute are willing to address the problem by repealing HB 299, how can Kentuckians take their promises to reform the public pension system seriously?
Read more about Kentucky’s pension crisis and steps toward solving the problems here.