Crowd gathers at state Capitol for pension rally

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Hundreds of people gathered outside the state Capitol Wednesday afternoon to rally against Governor Matt Bevin's proposal to save the pension system.

The plan has drawn criticism since the governor announced it last month.

It involves moving new employees to a 401(k)-style plan and freezing pensions for current employees at 27 years of service.

While the governor says the GOP plan to fix the ailing pension system honors the promises made to public employees and retirees, many of the people at the rally say they feel robbed.

"Every single paycheck, we pay into this. The promise is we are going to get that in return," said state worker, Katie Hancock.

The plan also calls for a three-percent additional contribution for teachers and other public employees in order to fund retiree health care plans.

"We live paycheck to paycheck and sometimes it's like, what do you do? Do you pay the electric bill or do you get some extra groceries," Hancock said.

Many at the rally believe the plan will make it harder to attract good teachers and public employees. They are asking legislators to look at tax reform and other sources of revenue to fund the current pension system.

"I would like to see expanded gambling and I would like to see marijuana legalized," retired state worker, Cecila Mitchell said.

Christina Frederick-Trosper is a teacher from Knox County. She traveled from Barbourville to have her voice heard saying she's worried school districts like hers will not be able to contribute a percentage toward retirement under the defined-contribution plan.

"Districts like Owsley County will begin the school year in the red. Knox County - we are going to have to come up with $800,000 which is a lot in our community," Trosper said.

Gov. Matt Bevin has been touring the state trying to sell his plan, while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns.

No vote is scheduled on the governor's proposal.

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