Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson along with administrators at five comprehensive universities remain intensely interested in a pension fix. Governor Bevin this week vetoed the bill adopted by lawmakers which sought to aid schools and many quasi-governmental groups transition their retirement strategies.
Thompson is cautiously optimistic another bill will be approved before the start of the fiscal year in July. “My guess is that if there’s a way they can narrowly tailor the way they are going to look at a special session if the governor calls it. Then there is a good chance that we still may get some relief this time out. But, we just don’t know yet,” said Thompson.
Thompson says those in executive and legislative branches of state government both are keenly interested in a pension solution.
Governor Bevin has indicated his plan to call lawmakers into special session to resolve his concerns. Thompson hopes that comes before summer. “We have to kind of know what we’re able to do and not able to do, for us in higher education. By the time June one comes around we should have something that really would give us an idea how we’re going to go into the next fiscal year and understand how to be solvent ourselves,” noted Thompson.
The five universities are Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Murray State, Northern Kentucky and Morehead State. They are seeking the ability to opt out of the state pension systems and move some employees into a defined contribution plan. Thompson says he understands concerns about schools paying back what they owe over time costing the state system, but he says the alternative would put at risk educational efforts.