By the time you read this on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin may have already issued a call for a special legislative session on public pension reform.
If that happens, it certainly won’t be out of character for our arrogant governor who doesn’t like to be told “no” on anything.
In something of a surprise earlier this week, 45 of the 64 Republican members of the Kentucky House signed a letter urging the governor to wait until January’s regular session for a pension fix that affects hundreds of thousands of individuals and families.
House GOP leadership tried to convince the governor that there is not sufficient time left in 2017 for a special session that will cost an estimated $65,000 a day.
Normally, a bill requires a minimum of five legislative days to become law in our state. But that won’t be the case this time because so many lawmakers, advocacy groups and citizens are opposed to what Bevin has proposed.
Party unity among House Republicans is becoming a fading memory at this point with Bevin demanding the resignations of former Speaker Jeff Hoover and any other legislator accused of sexual misconduct.
What once was considered a lawmaking juggernaut, the “New Majority” of GOP members in the House today is in total disarray as factions of disaffected legislators jockey for power.
With a filing deadline of Jan. 30 for the 2018 election cycle fast approaching, we don’t believe many Republican lawmakers in either chamber will want to take chances on further angering current and future public retirees.
Legislators from both parties have questioned the wisdom of trying to reform pensions before the state’s tax code is updated.
In other words, how can you solve an expensive problem if you don’t know how much money will be available for that purpose?
Bevin promised special sessions on both matters but insisted that pensions come first. We believe his stubbornness on that issue has helped create this problem.
In our opinion, his prophecy of financial doom for state government might become self-fulfilling.