Senate Majority Floor Leader Discusses Pension and Budget Issues

3/13/18 2:52 PM

Last Wednesday, the Senate State and Local Government Committee approved Senate Bill 1 and advanced the pension reform measure to the full Senate for its consideration.

On Friday, that legislation stalled on the Senate floor, and Republican leaders sent the bill back to committee.

“This bill is a compromise on a compromise on a comprise,” says Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) about SB 1. “It’s not a perfect plan but it’s a good plan, and I’ve learned down here not to give up the good for the sake of the perfect.”

Thayer discussed the reform package with KET’s Renee Shaw on March 7. He says SB 1 puts the public pension systems on a path to solvency, while protecting taxpayers and the state’s bond rating. Thayer says says the new hybrid cash balance plan for teachers hired in the future will give them portability in their retirement that they have not had before. The senator also says he believes the proposed changes do not violate the inviolable contract between public workers and their employers. In fact, SB 1 eliminates the inviolable contract for new teacher hires.

“The inviolable contract was a bad public policy when it was instituted in the 1970s,” Thayer says. “For a legislature 35 or 40 years ago to bind future legislatures to those benefits is not appropriate.”

Thayer also updates the budget process, the prospects for tax reform during the current legislative session, and other issues before the 2018 General Assembly.