Kentucky’s pension system could need $4.6 billion influx

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s state pension systems are expected to need nearly $4.6 billion from the next two-year state budget, mostly to cover pension debts, officials told lawmakers.

The largest share will go to the Teachers’ Retirement System of Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. For fiscal year 2023, TRS expects to need $1.25 billion from the state; for fiscal year 2024, it’s $1.33 billion, lawmakers were told this week. TRS provides retirement benefits to 56,629 retired Kentucky educators, with 73,151 more educators actively enrolled.

The state’s General Fund is about $12.5 billion a year, Rep. Jim DuPlessis said.

“So that’s 10 percent, basically, of the entire state’s General Fund budget … is going to pay for educators’ pensions,” DuPlessis said. “It’s mind-boggling to realize. And when you hear that we need to pay teachers more, I agree. We need better roads, we need better this. But when 10 percent of any budget is going to an item, that’s significant.”

Nearly 400,000 state and local government workers or retirees are enrolled in the KPPA.

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