Friday, September 23, 2011

Speaker, former Labor Secretary cited in investigative report on bloated pensions

Our founders never intended for politicians to go to Frankfort, make a career out of ruling in government and then mooch off taxpayers for the rest of their lives. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening in Kentucky.

An eye-opening investigative report by USA Today reveals how career politicians right here in the commonwealth are benefiting from a minor change in 2005 to a Kentucky law governing state pension policies.

But the USA Today report is just the tip of the iceberg.

During the upcoming weeks, the Bluegrass Institute will be using information gained for a report on Kentucky's public pension crisis to expose egregious policies and wasteful spending practices to make the case for dramatic and rapid reform of the state's pension system.

One sentence added to the law allows retiring legislators who have held other state jobs to use the highest salary among all of their positions to calculate their legislative pensions.

“The 2005 law has boosted legislative pensions of at least four other retired legislators and will help at least another dozen incumbent or former legislators who have not yet retired,” the USA Today report stated.

The report cited J.R. Gray, who began getting a $132,252 pension from the Kentucky Legislators Retirement Plan last year, and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who has enough credit for a pension “equal to 100% of his attorney general salary -- $110,346.”

Both Gray and Stumbo would qualify for significantly smaller pensions without the change in 2005. For example, Gray ‘s pension is based on the three years he served as Labor Cabinet Secretary, in which his salary averaged $132,252, instead of the $24,651 he earned in his final year of a 26-year career as a state legislator.

Stumbo, meanwhile, would qualify for a pension of less than $40,000 had the law not been passed.


Hempy said...

Not one to put too much credibility in campaign ads, nevertheless it puzzles me that no mention of the GOP gubernatorial candidate David Williams, whose pension apparently will be around $1 million annually.

Not only is Williams not qualified to be governor, but his handling of fiscal matters appears to leave something to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Hempy - Please finish your thoughts. You didn't mention Governor Beshear's qualifications to be governor and his handling of fiscal matters. I can't wait for your response.

Hempy said...


Granted, Beshear is not a progressive American values Democrat. However, Williams spews Ayn Rand's atheistic ideology that's endemic to the Republican Party. American values are anathema to them.

Williams and the Republican field continue to wage their class warfare against average Americans.

Hence, Beshear is eminently more qualified to be governor than is Williams.