Beshear calls on lawmakers to pass gaming as a dedicated revenue source for public pensions
Kentucky Press News Service
FRANKFORT – After filing litigation in April to protect the pensions of public employees, Attorney General Andy Beshear Monday called on state lawmakers to boost the pension system in the upcoming session by creating a dedicated source of revenue – expanding gaming.
Beshear said in a news release this approach would then free up other sources of state revenue to fund education, fight the drug epidemic and provide health care.
“As attorney general, I took a stand on public pensions earlier this year after lawmakers turned an 11-page sewer bill into a 291-page pension bill and betrayed our state’s promise to our public servants,” Beshear said. “I ask lawmakers to create a dedicated source of revenue for pensions so we don’t have a pension battle each and every session.”
Beshear’s lawsuit against lawmakers’ 2018 pension bill, Senate Bill 151, is currently before the state Supreme Court.
While lawmakers never released a cost analysis of SB 151, Beshear said a similar pension overhaul, Senate Bill 1, which was defeated in the 2018 session, was reported to add $5 billion in costs to Kentucky Retirement Systems over the next 35 years.
“The solution is not to cut legally promised benefits, but to create a new stream of revenue dedicated solely to pensions that does not raise any Kentuckian’s taxes,” Beshear said. “The answer should be simple – expanded gaming including casino, fantasy sports and sports gaming, as well as preparing for the eventual legalization of online poker.”
Estimates suggest Kentuckians spend over $1 billion of their entertainment dollars in casinos at bordering states, he said.