Kentucky League Of Cities' Priorities In 2019 Session

Jan 3, 2019

Downtown Lexington, pictured here, is the location of the office of the Kentucky League of Cities.
Credit Stu Johnson

The deputy director of Kentucky’s local government advocacy organization believes there’s legislative will to pass new pension reforms during the upcoming 30- day general assembly session. 

City governments sought, and got, lawmaker action on a phase-in measure for future pension obligations. 

While local government leaders may have some anxiety about the pension payment schedule, Kentucky League of Cities’ J.D. Chaney said it needn’t be so, right now. “There’s not any uncertainty right now.  That is the law, the employer contribution caps at 12 percent under the law that applies to the Kentucky retirement systems.  They cannot require employers to make employer contributions more than 12 percent increase from one fiscal year over the next,” said Chaney.

Chaney said it’s difficult to know what form an overall pension measure might take, partly because there are more than two dozen new members in the House alone. 

But, he says, the League will again seek to see the county employee retirement system separated out from the Kentucky employee retirement system. 

The veteran KLC agent said local governments continue to seek state legislative action to diversify revenue-raising measures.  The League’s legislative advocate says that could include making a restaurant tax an option for all cities.

Gov.  Matt Bevin and lawmakers have also talked of more comprehensive state tax reform.  Chaney said, what he calls low hanging fruit tax changes, could be acted upon in the short 30-day session.  He says some members want to do more.  “The new legislators that I met are anxious to tackle, and the legislators that remain, are anxious to tackle big issues on behalf of Kentucky and so something might ignite and they may be able to get more comprehensive stuff done,” noted Chaney.

Chaney said it’s more likely the larger tax reforms would not be put on the table for serious consideration until the 2020 general assembly session.