Kentucky lawmakers face budget cuts that could impact pension system

PADUCAH, KY – Your money and your retirement, if you’re a government employee, are what local lawmakers have on their priority list.  Kentucky’s legislative session starts in two weeks.

Lawmakers are getting their priorities in line for 2018. Similar to our federal lawmakers, our state representatives have to pass a budget first. Representatives Richard Heath, Steven Rudy, and Gerald Watkins were at the Paducah Chamber of Commerce Public Policy luncheon Tuesday to talk about what they want to get done in the upcoming 60 day session.

Rep. Rudy said the budget is a big problem right now. “As we look at the $10 billion of general funds that we take in and the spending plan, so much of it is already dedicated,” he said. He said by the time they pay for the mandatory items like public education, the prison system, and Medicaid, they don’t have much left.

That could affect what happens to the pension system.

“We’re looking at 17 to 25 percent cuts for most agencies,” said Rudy. “Everybody knows the pension situation is complex. It’s difficult. I wish it was as simple as ‘Hey, fix it!'”

Watkins said they can only cut spending so much, saying “17 to 25 percent cuts across the board…I don’t see how we’re possibly going to be able to do that.”

Local lawmakers are also looking at a tax reform bill at the state level as well as different ways to increase revenue for the state whether it be increasing the cigarette or gas tax.

Heath will also be focused on getting agricultural bills passed that will help Kentucky’s agriculture industry.

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