Recommendations for a taxpayer-friendly COVID-19 legislative finale offering promise for post-virus recovery

With the Kentucky General Assembly returning to its work today, the Bluegrass Institute urges legislators to make their sole constitutional obligation of passing a balanced budget their top priority. Now isn’t the time to raise taxes and increase spending. There will already be enough of that occurring at both the federal and state levels to…

Lawmakers give teachers’ pension fund an extra $1B instead of awarding it to ailing KERS

The Kentucky Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee led by Chairman Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, recently unveiled its version of the KY budget for the next two fiscal years. Despite what the teachers’ unions and media would have you believe, the Senate version of the budget fully funded the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) with no strings attached.…

Bluegrass Beacon: Quasi-pension bill good but Kentucky Senate could make it great

Legislation passed by the Kentucky House of Representatives intended to provide long-term relief from steep increases in pension payments faced by quasi-government agencies like regional universities, health departments and rape crisis centers represents small steps in the right direction. However, the Kentucky Senate, which now will consider House Bill 171 (HB 171), could turn this…

Bill to change the KY constitution

HB 475 filed in this 2020 session of the General Assembly proposes a change to the Constitution of Kentucky to allow cities, counties and towns to impose and collect local taxes. This bill, often referred to as a local option sales tax, specifically, removes the following language from the Kentucky Constitution: “and may, by general…

Bluegrass Beacon: Pension contract inviolable, not inflexible

Legislators campaigning to hold on to their seats may be jittery about dealing with controversial pension reform, but the problems plaguing the state’s retirement systems don’t hibernate just because there’s an election. Despite record amounts of funding in recent years, the ailing Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) is saddled with $14.5 billion worth of liabilities, remains…

Bluegrass Beacon: Will Beshear consider ‘common goals’ of non-teaching taxpayers?

Editor’s note: The Bluegrass Beacon is a weekly syndicated newspaper column posted on the Bluegrass Institute’s website after being released to and published by newspapers statewide. The following column is an updated version of a recent column published by newspapers statewide. Governor Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear held a poster contest as part…

Beshear should end pension spiking for legislators who join his team

Gov.-elect Andy Beshear has selected longtime state Rep. Rocky Adkins as his senior adviser. Will Beshear follow the lead of outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin, who, according to administration officials, required legislators appointed to positions in his administration to forego using the salaries earned in their executive positions to spike their legislative pensions? Adkins finished second…

Bluegrass Institute commends progress toward increased KRS investment transparency

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 8, 2019 (FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute Pension Reform Team issued the following statement in response to the Public Pension Oversight Board’s recent discussion regarding transparency of Kentucky Retirement Systems (KRS) investment fees, which included a presentation by State Auditor Mike Harmon.  The Bluegrass Institute has always been a…