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Local Government Leaders Seek Relief From Pension Costs

Elected officials from Kentucky’s metro areas are appealing to state lawmakers to reform the public pension system to keep it from consuming a growing share of their budgets.

They testified in Frankfort this week before the Task Force on Pensions.

Among them is Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. He says pensions accounted for just over five percent of the city’s budget in 2004. By 2011, the figure had risen to nine percent.

"And then if there’s a five percent annual increase in pension costs over revenue growth over the next ten years, this would result in the reduction of the metro workforce by about 600 positions," Fischer said.

Kenton County Judge-Executive Steve Arlinghaus says his pension costs have jumped more than three percent over the same period.

Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanan says the increase was more than four percent in his county.

Buchanan says if present trends continue, most Kentucky counties will be insolvent within ten years.

The state’s unfunded public pension liability is estimated at more than $30 billion.

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