Pension in peril puts university at risk

By on January 9, 2018

By Madison Thompson —

The Kentucky pension reform proposal is scheduled to take place Jan. 16. The budget proposal entails many budget cuts, as well as suggestions for tax reform and revenue boosts.

The pressing question resides in the obvious. How will this affect students at U of L?

There is a section within the released proposal about funding for universities shifting to “outcome based funding.” This means funding will be distributed based on performance criteria.

U of L’s fiscal year budget shows funding decreases across nearly all departments. This could mean tuition increases and additional fees.

Such cuts are unfortunate, especially for certain departments. When budget cuts come down the pike, the arts are usually the first to suffer. This is evident in the university announcing in fall 2017 they were pulling advertising funding for The Louisville Cardinal, the independent school newspaper.

The budget cuts from the Kentucky pension reform proposal, which will total $158 million across the three branches, will undoubtedly have more impacts on the state.

These cuts, though concerning, are crucial to manage Kentucky’s state pension fund, as well as various rainy day funds and potentially secure a halt in the state debt. Currently, Kentucky’s state pension is among the worst funded pensions in the United States, according to usdebtclock.org.

The debt is a problem we have known about for many years. Rather than addressing it, previous administrations have ignored it. Regardless of political affiliation, the problem cannot be solved by ignoring it.

The debt cannot be solved by spending more money than is available through tax revenue. For example, let’s say you make $500 a week at your full-time job. If you spend more than $500 every week, then you will not have any money to survive. This is grossly simplified, but serves as an example nonetheless.

At any rate, something done now can aid our future. Either the system will collapse or its demise can be altered. Ignoring the issue will not make it go away, and neither will throwing money at it. It is time for us to tighten our belts and hope the solution presented will work.

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