As previously reported, Kentucky faces a massive pension crisis statewide. Mayors from Louisville to Lexington have called for legislators to implement major reform across the entire commonwealth during the 2013 legislative session.
But Tuesday, Pew Charitable Trusts came out with a report that breaks the issue down city by city. And as for cities in Kentucky, Louisville shoulders well over half the blame for the commonwealth’s retirement benefit disaster.
According to the study titled “A Widening Gap in Cities: Shortfalls in Funding for Pensions and Retiree Health Care,” of the $34 billion of unfunded liabilities the commonwealth faces, Louisville’s share is $18 billion. To put this into a national perspective, of the 61 cities examined by the study, only sixteen fared worse than Louisville on pension funding.
There are currently about 5,500 Louisvillians enrolled in a pension plan with Kentucky Retirement Systems.
Though Louisville’s retirement plans for municipal workers is in worst shape, the report notes that the this is the responsibility of Gov. Beshear’s state government, which sets strict pension policies that all cities in the commonwealth must follow.
Thankfully, Mayor Greg Fischer and his staff are not taking the situation lightly. According to Fischer’s deputy chief of staff, Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, “This confirms everything we’ve been talking about. Our pension obligations are at such an extreme level, they are hindering our ability to deliver basic city services.”