FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — New government hires would be eligible to participate in the same retirement plans as current employees under overhauled legislation that passed a House committee on Tuesday.
House Democrats rewrote a bill drafted by Senate Republicans, removing key provisions that were intended to ease the financial woes of the state's pension system for government retirees.
The House State Government Committee struck language that would have created a 401(k)-like plan for incoming workers before voting 17-1 to send the measure to the full House for consideration. Ten Republican lawmakers passed during the committee vote.
The House lawmakers also added language to the bill that would allow retirees to receive cost-of-living increases, but only when the state has enough money to pay for them.
State Rep. Brent Yonts, D-Greenville, said the key component of the legislation is requiring the state to always make its required contributions to the retirement systems, which now have a $33 billion unfunded liability. Yonts said the state hasn't contributed in full in 13 of the past 21 years.
"We have broken our promise to them," said Yonts, chairman of the House State Government Committee.