Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kicking Frankfort's can down the road

While Kentucky plays around with lesser issues, California is at least looking at what we should be looking at: unfunded public pension liabilities.

Kentucky is in the hole $30 billion on our pension obligations, but continues to play funding games rather than seriously cutting state government to be able to afford massive retirement bills when they come due.

When Kentucky's retirement system actuarial reports come out later this fall, renewed interest in this mess should motivate proper action, but probably won't.

In California today, a vote is expected to allow their retirement system to continue to pretend that there is no problem. Kentucky has done the same thing -- a process called "smoothing," which involves spreading current financial losses over future years -- in each of our last two legislative sessions. This allows the problem to get bigger, costing taxpayers more. From a legislator's perspective it is okay, though, because they are future taxpayers.

To his credit, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets it:

All the legislators in Frankfort know that this pension time bomb is our biggest problem.