The Kentucky Supreme Court issued several opinions Thursday morning, including a ruling on the KLC-supported right-to-work law that the legislature passed in 2017. It also set an expedited hearing schedule on the lawsuit over Marsy's Law for Kentucky. However, it did not release a decision on the pension law.
The draft of an experience study conducted by the actuary for the Kentucky Retirement Systems raised questions about the amount of payroll growth being seen in the County Employees Retirement System (CERS). The KRS Board of Trustees received a preview of the report Thursday. It also recommends a slight reduction in CERS employer contribution rates.
KLC President and Mayfield Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell, First Vice President and Jeffersontown Mayor Bill Dieruf and Deputy Executive Director J.D. Chaney outlined the 2019 KLC Legislative Agenda to the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government. They explained why the separation of the County Employees Retirement System remains the top priority for cities and spoke on everything from equalization and modernization of the road funding formula to updating city classification reform.
The Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue met on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. The Office of the State Budget Director warned members of the committee that the Fiscal Year budget may not end as flush as FY 2018. The Task Force on Tax Expenditures also met at NKU, along with the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice & Judiciary, which discussed bail bond reform.
All seven members of the Kentucky Supreme Court peppered Governor Matt Bevin's general counsel and Attorney General Andy Beshear with questions as they argued before the state's high court on the constitutionality of Senate Bill 151, the pension reform law.
Van Ingram, the executive director of the Kentucky Office Of Drug Control Policy, testified Wednesday on the growing number of overdose deaths in the state. The Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee also heard how local control is important as cities battle the epidemic.
Members of the newly formed advisory subcommittee to study CERS separation have begun to meet. Separation is the top priority for KLC in the 2019 legislative session. The meeting began after a lengthy Public Pension Oversight Board (PPOB) meeting in which Kentucky Retirement Systems executives gave an overview of cash flow and investment returns for the end of Fiscal Year 2018.
New data released Thursday at the Kentucky Retirement Systems Audit Committee shows CERS grew 6% in Fiscal Year 2018, despite seeing a decline in investment income from the previous fiscal year. The troubled KERS nonhazardous pension plan saw a $44 million loss. KLC believes separation of CERS from KRS is the best path forward to deal with management and administration concerns and ensure its continued growth.
Returns posted by the Kentucky Retirement Systems for the end of the fiscal year show investments were above benchmarks, but recent changes in asset allocations may drag its numbers down. KLC continues to believe CERS separation is the best path forward for the local pension system to ensure it is not hampered by administration and management concerns.
The state's highest court has set a September 20 hearing date for the governor's appeal to a Franklin Circuit Court ruling that invalidated the pension law, Senate Bill 151. The Kentucky Supreme Court will now decide if the law was passed legally.
The KLC Board of Directors has finalized its priorities for the 2019 legislative session with separation of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), modernization of the road funding formula and flexibility and protection of the state's tax laws topping the list.