The following letter to the editor appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal this morning. Please visit the newspaper’s site and leave your thoughts in the comment section!
Interested in how much a legislator earns for part-time work in Frankfort? No problem! You can find out through the Kentucky Open Records Act. Do you want to know how much of your hard-earned money was spent in a specific school district? Would you like to see an itemized check register? Again, no problem! Just do an open records request.
You may even want to take a look at the travel expenses for specific departments in Frankfort. Good news! You can access that information, too. But let’s say you want to find out how much your part-time legislator is raking in through Kentucky’s public pension system. Good luck. Apparently the Kentucky General Assembly doesn’t deem you worthy of that information. It seems odd that taxpayers can access just about every sort of public spending information imaginable except for that related to public pensions.
Why is this the case? Transparency is the first step toward accountability. As of today, Kentucky taxpayers have no way of holding their government accountable for the $34 billion unfunded liability that is sinking the state. If Kentucky’s legislators truly want to represent the people of their state, they will waste no time in opening the books on the Kentucky Retirement System and making those pensions transparent.
Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions
The Bluegrass Institute has been working hard to bring attention to the lack of transparency in the public pension system for several years now. You can read more about these issues here.