Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidate James Comer speechless in response to bad votePosted by Aaron Gillum on April 13, 2015
LOUISVILLE, KY — Last week, political action group super PAC “Citizens for a Sound Government” began running television ads attacking Kentucky gubernatorial front-runners James Comer and Matt Bevin.
While the attacks on Bevin were copycats to the overwhelmingly debunked ads used by the McConnell campaign in last years’ Kentucky senate primary, the attacks on Comer have brought information into the spotlight that many voters may not previously have seen.
The attacks allege that Comer, in his prior capacity as a legislator, voted to approve an increase to state pension payouts, benefiting him by nearly tripling his pension with his new role as the Agricultural Commissioner, and further benefiting him should he be elected governor.
Kentucky legislators fund their own pension plan, exclusively for the legislation. State officers, like the AG Commissioner, receive pension from the state retirement system (KERS). The bill Comer voted to pass in the House, enacted a reciprocity provision, that allowed anyone serving as a legislator to calculate their legislative pensions based upon their best years in ANY state capacity. The legislative positions are a part time position, and the pensions are funded by part-time employees, but the bill allowed anyone climbing the ladder within the state, to be reimbursed from this pension plan as a full-time employee, at potentially much higher rates of return from increased salaries.
By support of HB 299 in 2005, known as “The Greed Bill”, Comer’s legislator pension increased from $13,100 a year, to $34,369 per year, after moving to his new office. Legislator pensions are calculated based upon years of service, a service credit rate, and the average of the three highest years of salary. Additionally, Comer has started a new KERS pension in his new role, meaning he will draw a second pension in addition to his legislator pension, once retired.
At the Gubernatorial debate in Louisville, Commissioner Comer was left searching for words, in response to his vote for “The Greed Bill”.
Comer has since gone on record stating he would opt out of his state pension, if elected Governor , but made no mention of reforming this practice to protect the pool of state employee pensions.
The second attack from the ads allege that Comer was paid $87,429 in subsidies (from 1995 – 2012), and further explains that Comer’s father has received $128,000 in the same subsidies since 1995.
Comer, while campaigning, has been vocal of his opposition to the subsidies and about the need for their reduction.
In quick response, Comer stated “He’s (Heiner) gotten more farm subsidies per acre than I have, significantly more.”
Heiner has repeatedly denied that his campaign has any involvement with the negative attacks on Bevin and Comer.
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