Kentucky Mayors Calling For Lawmakers To Address Pension Costs

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UPDATE: 2:08 p.m. The mayors of Kentucky's two largest cities called on state lawmakers to enact reforms that would help curb pension obligations that are crippling annual budgets in Lexington and Louisville.

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray says pension payments have ballooned over the last decade and now account for 20% of the city's annual budget. Lexington's obligations were just 6% of the budget in 2000.

Gray says stock market losses, people living longer and governments underfunding pension commitments have contributed to the shortfalls. Lexington's pension system is governed by state laws.

Mayor Greg Fischer says Louisville's obligations account for 15% of its general fund. Fischer says that figure was just 6% seven years ago.

Lawmakers have pledged to address pension reforms in the upcoming General Assembly.

The mayors of Kentucky's two largest cities and other community leaders will call for legislative action to address rising pension costs and how they are impacting communities.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray are planning to speak about the pension problems Monday morning at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort.

The morning news conference will also preview a national report from the Pew Center on the States that addresses the impact of pension costs on cities, including Louisville.

Other officials scheduled to attend the event are Kentucky League of Cities director Jonathan Steiner and Kentucky Association of Counties president Tommy Turner.