When Governor Steve Beshear and Senator Damon Thayer meet for lunch, what do you think they talk about? Fortunately for Kentuckians they talk about public pension reform.
cn|2 is reporting that pension reform was a priority in their recent discussion:
The first issue Gov. Steve Beshear raised when meeting with Republican Sen. Damon Thayer over lunch at the governor’s mansion last month was reform to the state employee pension system — something Beshear has largely steered clear of.
Thayer, a Georgetown Republican, said on Pure Politics that Beshear “wanted to remain engaged and wanted to continue working” with the legislative task force looking at ways to sure up the system that currently faces a nearly $30 billion unfunded liability.
I hope that Beshear is serious about making this a priority. It was not that long ago that the governor boldly claimed the pension system would fix itself as long as the state made its scheduled payments. Obviously, that is not true. Based on cn|2’s report, I am guessing that Beshear has realized that the public pension debt is severe enough that it could break the state.
Tough decisions will need to be made.
If you are interested, you can read more about Kentucky’s unfunded pension liability in our recent exposé.