The Kentucky General Assembly convened for its 60-day working session on January 7 with the main focus on crafting a two-year budget. During his State of the Commonwealth address last week, we were encouraged to hear Governor Beshear cite his support for postsecondary education and are hopeful to see it reflected in the budget recommendation he delivers on January 28.
Outside of the budget, NKU’s main priority continues to be the public pension system. We made great strides last summer with the passing of House Bill 1 (HB1) that outlined options for pension reform and froze our Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS) contribution rates for a year. To recap HB1’s options, click here.
In the months since the summer special session, we have been exploring each option’s financial impact on the university and our employees. In order to assist in analyzing all of our options, we have joined Eastern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University to hire The Segal Group, a benefits and human resources consulting firm. Their review will allow us to make a data informed recommendation to the Board of Regents.
We also have been working with lawmakers to identify improvements to HB1, and we are happy to report new legislation has been introduced that reflects our work: Senate Bill 88 (SB88), sponsored by Senator Wil Schroder of Wilder, and House Bill 262 (HB262), sponsored by Representative Mark Hart of Falmouth.
SB88 and HB262 are identical bills filed in their respective Senate and House Chamber that will give NKU another option to consider by allowing us to leave Tier 1 employees in KERS and have Tier 2 and 3 employees exit the system. This option will give Tier 1 employees close to retirement milestones the ability to fulfill those requirements, while giving Tier 2 and Tier 3 employees the ability to improve their retirement outcome.
We appreciate Sen. Schroder and Rep. Hart’s work to provide another option for consideration. We must continue to advocate for additional support for higher education, including performance funding, asset preservation and additional pension reform options. We encourage you to contact your legislator by clicking this link and to find your representatives in Frankfort.
You can always visit the Pension Central website for updates on the process and send questions to email@example.com. If you need additional information about the legislative session, please contact Adam Caswell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will continue to share developments and new information as it becomes available. Thank you for all you do for our university, our students and our region.