Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson has made his case for state financial support during what’s shaping up to be a very difficult budget year. Benson testified before the House Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.
Under Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s pension reform proposal, EKU’s pension costs would go from 22 million to 32 million dollars in July. Benson asked for some flexibility to create savings. “For all future employees, we would like to mandate that they do not go into the KERS, that they go into a defined contribution plan,” said Benson.
Benson also asked legislators to consider removing a 5 percent penalty on Eastern workers who choose not to participate in the Kentucky Employee Retirement System. Committee Chairman James Tipton says it’s important to look at education budgets from kindergarten through postsecondary across the board adding there are lots of pressing financial needs. “Dollars are very precious. The big question in the room is when pension reform legislation comes out, will there be any cost savings to that,” said Tipton.
Tipton says it may not be a huge amount of money, but some savings might be able to go to higher education.