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Coalition Calls For Special Session

A group of government, commercial and education activists is urging Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear to call a special session of the legislature to address pension reform.The group is called the Coalition for Sustainable Benefits and is compised of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the League of Cities and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.The legislature adjourned on this week without passing a pension reform bill, even though the House and Senate had come to a tentative agreement. A special session would cost the state tens of thousands of dollars per day,  but Kentucky Chamber of Commerce president David Adkisson says the benefit would outweigh the expense.“The cost of having the legislature in session is miniscule compared to the financial implications of this problem going unaddressed,” he says.The House and Senate had a tentative agreement in place on the last day of the 2008 legislative session, but the deal fell apart in the final hours. The House bill called for reduced benefits for future hires as well as a study of retooling the system. The Senate bill called for deeper cuts and an annuity savings plan for new hires.Adkisson says the coalition is not endorsing a particular version of the pension bill, but wants lawmakers to reach some agreement to fix a system that faces a shortfall of more than 26 billion dollars.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.