Kentucky Pension Task Force Begins Work On Solutions

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - As Kentucky's public employee pension system lurches deeper into financial difficulties, Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday asked a panel he created last week to suggest solutions within the next six months.

Beshear addressed the pension panel Tuesday at its first meeting, asking for a final report by Nov. 1. Any legislative remedies that could preserve the state's retirement system for public employees could then be considered by the General Assembly in 2009, Beshear said.

"All of us agree that we've got a tremendous problem that needs to be dealt with," Beshear told the panel.

The state's retirement system, which cover benefits for more than 445,000 people, face an unfunded liability of more than $26 billion. Without action, lawmakers have said, the system is facing an eventual financial collapse.

Gov. Steve Beshear has called on lawmakers to pass legislation this summer to tweak the system. He says the plan could save hundreds of millions of dollars per year and preserve the state's bond rating.

Beshear says he's willing to call the legislature into a special session later this month if lawmakers can agree on a plan before then.

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