The public endorsements by the two Republican legislative leaders was a strong sign that once the plan becomes a bill and is considered by the House and Senate, it will pass.
In fact Bevin predicted later Wednesday that the bill will pass the Republican-controlled House and Senate “with flying colors.”
But House Democratic Caucus Chairman Dennis Keene, of Wilder, said Friday if the bill passes the House it may be with only votes of majority Republicans.
“Right now I don’t know of any Democrats in the House who are for it,” Keene said. “I think it passes the Senate, but I think the concerns that have been raised about it means that it will not be an easy task for Speaker Hoover to secure the votes they need in the House.”
The plan would put new teachers and most other new public employees into savings plans similar to 401(k)-style plans used widely by private sector employers. Current employees and teachers would be shifted into such plans after working 27 years under their current traditional pension plans.
But the plan has drawn opposition because it cuts benefits in several ways. For instance, current employees and teachers would be required to pay 3 percent more of their salaries for retirement health benefits.
Retired teachers would see cost of living increases of 1.5 percent in their benefits suspended for five years, and teachers who retire in the future would not get such adjustments for the first five years.
Many stakeholder groups have objected to at least major parts of the plan. “I’m not a political person, so I don’t know if it will pass,” said Jim Carroll, president of the advocacy group Kentucky Government Retirees. “But I’ve never seen as much engagement by stakeholder groups with legislators on anything like I’m seeing now.”
Carroll said as lawmakers of either party hear the concerns support for the plan – at least in its current form, could weaken.