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 Tuesday. 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.”
The state’s obligations to the Kentucky Public Pension Authority are estimated at roughly $1 billion for each of the next two fiscal years, including what it owes for state government employees and other public employees enrolled in KPPA for whom the state provides assistance on pension costs.
Nearly 400,000 state and local government workers or retirees are enrolled in the KPPA.