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Beshear Says Pension Problem Turns Critical

FRANKFORT, KY -- As far as statehouse issues go, public pension reform doesn't have the sizzle of casino gambling, the bare-fisted partisan bickering of tax increases or the deep social and religious overtones of abortion, reports NKY.COM on its Sunday Web site.

But , reports the Web site of the Cincinnati Enquirer, it is a far-reaching problem that is siphoning millions of dollars that the local governments and schools could spend on infrastructure, parks, pools, police and more.

"Urgent is no longer strong enough a word," said Gov. Steve Beshear, who is considering calling lawmakers in a special session later this month to grapple with an issue that couldn't be resolved during this year's regular session, reports NKY.COM. "Critical is more accurate," he said.

Beshear is imploring legislators to come together on, at the very least, a short-term fix that could be passed in a special session that could take as little as five days, reports NKY.COM

If lawmakers enact a reform bill by July 1, the beginning of the state's next fiscal year, the costs to cities, counties and school districts would be reduced by $56 million.

But without a remedy the state's pension fund liability, already at $27 billion, will continue to grow by $500 million a year.

"This pension crisis is not just a Frankfort problem," Beshear said. "It's affecting residents across the state."

Local governments are urging Frankfort to act. Last week the Campbell County Fiscal Court joined others in passing a resolution requesting "immediate action by the General Assembly in reforming Kentucky's retirement system," the court members said in a statement, reports NKY.COM.

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