As we’ve been saying for years, Kentucky’s pension system must be reformed. We’ve emphasized — and do so again here — that the structure of each system’s benefits must be addressed in order for any additional funding to positively impact the systems’ long-term fiscal health.
Even with such reforms, however, additional monies must be found from somewhere to begin filling Kentucky’s $40 billion unfunded liability. The best place to start would be cutting current wasteful spending in the state budget.
An obvious target is government contracts says Louisville attorney and former state representative Bob Heleringer in his recent Courier-Journal columns. Heleringer highlights some of the most outrageous allocations:
- The University of Kentucky spending $90,000 to hire an executive director of the UK Alumni Association, $90,000 to find a senior philanthropy director for the college of engineering and $360,000 for an executive vice-president for health administration.
- UK additionally pays $400,000 for ongoing consulting from a company in Silver Spring, Maryland to help with “diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
- The University of Louisville spending $795,000 on the search for a new president.
- Eastern Kentucky University spending $67,600 to look for a new provost as well as $30,000 for one more person on their alumni and donor engagement team.
- Morehead State spending $57,000 on a consultant in Topeka, Kansas to facilitate online math classes.
- The Kentucky National Guard budgeting $75,000 on a consultant to “change the culture.”
While the Bluegrass Institute is not opposed to quality education and hiring competent professionals, unnecessary spending must be reined in if we hope to make progress on filling in our deep public-pension hole and make our Commonwealth attractive for economic vitality.