Legislators working to answer pension bill questions

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Pension reform is finally on the table, as Senate Bill 1 was filed late Thursday night. State House and Senate leaders hoped to quell some worries in a Wednesday morning news conference.

Speaker Pro Tem David Osbourne called the plan driven and thoughtful.

House and Senate leadership claim this pension bill will provide $4.8 billion in general fund savings throughout the next 30 years. It'll also eliminate the state's liability.

This bill, Senate President Robert Stivers says, is data-driven. It scraps the idea of teachers and state workers going into a 401k style plan. Workers will no longer be able to use new sick days as credit toward early retirement. New teachers will go into a hybrid cash balance plan.

This plan is one Speaker Osbourne says Governor Bevin likes.

"He's generally pleased that we have gotten to a point where we're ready to move forward," said Osbourne. "This has obviously been one of his top priorities and I think that he has also been frustrated by the slow process as we all have."

"We've been through this process for some six months now, meaning countless hours, countless days, countless weeks, driving countless miles to get to where we are, and this is a good product and I for one don't think anybody can really find any fault with what we've done," said Senator Joe Bowen.

"It's not gonna affect this current year budget," said Stivers. "What it's gonna affect is gonna be future years' budgets. That's where the impact is gonna roll in. Not here because we're funding a house payment, a 30-year mortgage payment that we haven't been paying down and just re-amortizing the interest in the payment. That's from the guy on the street. That's how it works."

A committee hearing on the bill is expected for next week. A floor vote would come after that.

House and Senate leadership want the bill to go into effect on July 1.

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