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Legislative pensions an issue in 2d House District campaign
Candidate for Ky House seat Kelly Whitaker "You don't get paid if you don't do the work."

HICKORY, KY – Today, in a joint press conference with other Republican candidates for state representative, Richard Heath, Republican from Mayfield in Kentucky’s Second House District, proposed replacing the current legislative retirement plan for state legislators with a 401K style retirement plan for future legislators.

Health’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming General Election, Kelly Whitaker, called Heath’s plan, “nothing more than a cynical attempt to replace the gold plated pension plan for current legislators with a silver plated version for new legislators.  In these tough budgetary times and difficult economy, tax payers simply cannot afford either the current gold-plated plan or Mr. Heath’s silver-plated version.”

Whitaker said, “While I am glad to see that my opponent has taken a step, albeit a very small step, in my direction on the legislative pension issue, his proposal today does not go nearly far enough and remains too costly for tax payers.”

“As part of my plan to make government accountable to the people once again and restore fiscal responsibility, a comprehensive plan that I proposed at the outset of this campaign some nine months ago, I stated, unequivocally, no full time pensions for part time legislators.  I find it disappointing that the first substantive proposal my opponent offers voters is one that feathers his own nest. My opponent’s proposal is more of the same old politics of the past - too many politicians in Frankfort looking out for their own interest rather than the interests of the citizens they swore an oath to represent, Whitaker concluded.”

Kelly Whitaker’s Plan to Make Government Accountable, Transparent and  Fiscally Responsible 

1)  No more full-time pensions for part-time legislators.  Take these savings and reinvest in the public employee’s pension fund to help shore up the unfunded liability.  While this will be a small down payment in terms of offsetting the unfunded liability in the public employees’ retirement fund, it will demonstrate to our dedicated public employees and the citizens of this Commonwealth that their elected leaders are willing to share in the sacrifices that must be made to restore fiscal responsibility. 

2)  We made a promise to our public employees regarding their pension and we must honor that promise.  But after years of neglect by members from both political parties, we have no choice but to change the current retirement system for all future public employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan or perhaps some type of hybrid plan, combining a defined benefit plan with a defined contribution plan. 

3)  You don’t get paid if you don’t do the work.  This is a simple concept that every worker understands, but for some reason, it is a concept that is hard for the politicians in Frankfort to grasp.  It is very simple.  No pay for state legislators during a special session resulting from their failure to pass a budget during the regular session.  If it requires a state constitutional amendment to accomplish, so be it.

4)  All committee meetings must be open to the public and the media, including budget negotiations – no exceptions.  Currently, decisions that spend billions of tax payers’ dollars are being made by a select group of legislators meeting behind closed doors.

5)  Any bill that proposes to raise taxes or spends any money must be posted publicly for 48 hours prior to a final vote being taken by either the House or Senate.

6)  End the scheme of ‘double-dipping’ in which career employees and the politically well-connected basically receive two checks for one job.  They “retire’ one day and then are rehired later, often at a higher salary, allowing them to draw a retirement check at the same time they are continuing to draw a pay check.

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