Pension crisis takes center stage at annual Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky's public pension crisis took center stage at the 24th Kentucky Chamber Day Dinner in Lexington.

The event held each year is an opportunity for business leaders and top lawmakers to discuss the new legislative session and what Kentuckians can expect in the year ahead.

Governor Matt Bevin, Senate President Robert Stivers, Speaker of the House David Osborne, Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins spoke on the 2019 General Assembly, along with chamber leaders.

Nearly every speaker mentioned the state's pension problem as a top priority this session.

"We implore both the legislative and executive branches to take action. Put away the political rhetoric and self-interests," said Kentucky Chamber Chairman Paul Thompson.

Lawmakers agree they need to fix what has been called the country's worst-funded public pension system, but can they do it this legislative session?

"I don't believe that a quick solution will be found. Quite frankly, I think there is a possibility we will exit this session without a solution," said House Speaker David Osborne.

However, Gov. Bevin vowed Thursday to the crowd they will come up with a solution.

"It will be fixed. It needs to be fixed," Bevin said.

Bevin rejected often-discussed alternative sources for state revenue.

"If we think that smoking pot and gambling is going to pay our pension problem, we are kidding ourselves," Bevin said.

The governor then voiced his support for the medical marijuana proposal introduced this week. Bevin said depending on how the legislation is written he "would be happy to sign it."

The 2019 race for governor was also a hot topic at the dinner. Bevin setting the record straight saying he will run for re-election.

"I am running for governor again, I am," he said.

Bevin has not said who his running mate will be. The filing deadline is Jan. 29.

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