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Kentucky pension fund in wobbly shape

Aug. 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM
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LOUISVILLE, Ky., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- State officials in Kentucky said a pension fund for retirees from non-hazardous jobs would continue to meet obligations, despite its troubles.

The Kentucky Employees Retirement System has about 40 percent of the assets required to cover its current obligations, a figure expected to drop to 16 percent by 2017, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal reported Monday.

The figure is well below the 75 percent held by the hazardous duty pension fund and the 55 percent in the State Police Retirement System, the newspaper said.

Gov. Steve Beshear, in a statement, said, "The one thing my administration will not support is breaking the inviolable contract," which would mean the fund would not be able to meet its obligations.

David Williams, president of the Kentucky Senate said, "The bottom line of it is we have to meet the obligations that we incurred."

The fund has suffered from the state paying less than the recommended share into the system since 2004 and from the economic downturn that turned into a recession in late 2007.

The director of state services at the National Conference of State Legislatures Ron Snell said the fix is simple, but not necessarily easy.

"It's a matter of making contributions and rebuilding the fund," he said.

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