(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, Kentucky’s first and only free-market think tank, is asking all candidates campaigning for General Assembly seats during this fall’s election to pledge support for bringing a greater level of transparency to Kentucky’s troubled public pension system.
The Institute recently sent – and asks all incumbents and challengers to sign – an 84-word pledge vowing to back “making the Kentucky Retirement Systems, Teachers’ Retirement System and Judicial Form Retirement System fully transparent, including requiring the disclosure of names, status and projected actual retirement beneﬁts and beneﬁt payments from the Kentucky Employees Retirement System, Teachers’ Retirement System, State Police Retirement System, County Employees Retirement System and Judicial Retirement Plan.”
The pledge should be signed and sent to the Bluegrass Institute at P.O. Box 11706, Lexington, KY 40577-1706 by Oct. 17. The Institute’s address is clearly indicated in the middle of the pledge. A self-addressed stamped envelope was included to assist candidates in promptly mailing their signed pledge.
“Now that legislators’ pensions are subject to the Open Records Act, it’s time to shine the light on the commonwealth’s other retirement systems,” Bluegrass Institute president and CEO Jim Waters said. “We need the information regarding members’ anticipated or actual benefits in order to bring further badly needed reforms to one of the nation’s most severe public pension crises.”
Despite historic increases in pension funding in recent years – $3.3 billion, or 15 percent of the current budget – the level of members’ benefits has remained largely secretive.
“Increased funding demands greater transparency and accountability,” Waters said. “Making information about members’ benefits subject to open-records policies will offer relevant information needed to offer sound policies for properly and effectively reforming the retirement systems.”
Copies of the pledge were sent to the addresses listed by candidates with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office when filing for this year’s election and to those included on the bio pages of lawmakers not appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot. Retiring lawmakers or those who lost their primary bids also are being asked to sign the pledge since most of them will soon be benefiting from taxpayer-funded retirement benefits.
The Institute will reveal by the end of October who did and did not sign the pledge, ensuring voters know who does and does not support open government.
For more information, please contact Jim Waters at firstname.lastname@example.org, 859.444.5630 ext. 102 (office) or 270.320.4376.