News Release: Funding a minor contributor to pension crisis

For Release: Monday, March 5, 2018 (FRANKFORT, Ky.) –– “Inadequate funding” is a popular claim often repeated by defenders of the status quo regarding Kentucky’s $65 billion public-pension crisis. However, facts assign a much-larger role to the failure of the retirement systems’ benefit structures to protect the commonwealth against risks and costs of crushing liabilities.…

Bluegrass Beacon: Inconvenient truth about teachers’ salaries

Editor’s note: The Bluegrass Beacon is a weekly syndicated statewide newspaper column posted on the Bluegrass Institute website after being released to and published by newspapers statewide. “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed,” wrote 18th century English writer Daniel Defoe in “The Political History of the Devil.” “As certain…

Bluegrass Beacon – Clear the air: Reveal retirees’ benefits

When addressing generous benefits received by Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) retirees in this column, a voluminous email response – mostly critical – is the norm. “I seriously have issues with using the word ‘lavish’ for teachers’ pensions,” a science teacher in Jefferson County wrote. “The word produces images of wealthy retirees sitting out on…

More from #kyga17: Pension transparency bills book-ended busy session

Back-to-back pension transparency bills – Senate Bills 2 and 3 – provided strong bookends for a busy 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. Along with passage during the session’s historic first week of Sen. Chris McDaniel’s SB 3, which makes legislators’ pension benefits subject to open-records requests – an issue pushed by the Bluegrass Institute’s…

Bluegrass Beacon: Clear case for pension transparency takes bizarre turn

Unusual antics occurring on the campaign trail these days include a bizarre race to choose the next president of the Kentucky Education Association (KEA), the state’s teachers’ union. When’s the last time you heard a KEA candidate ask: “Why does KEA oppose transparency?” Randolph Wieck, a history teacher at Louisville’s DuPont Manual High School, did…

Bluegrass Beacon: Pension gain, budget pain

Charles Eliot, the longest-serving president in Harvard University’s illustrious history, once said “the capacity to inflict pain” is a university leader’s most important quality. Could it also be a chief executive’s greatest asset – especially if he’s elected to lead a commonwealth that’s “already become essentially insolvent?” That’s how Gov. Matt Bevin described Kentucky’s fiscal…