Kansas: Big Changes Ahead For Kansas Public Employees Retirement System

Posted By on March 9, 2011

This is moving East to West, California’s day not to far away!

TOPEKA, Kan. – A Kansas House committee endorsed a bill Wednesday that would cut future retirement benefits for current teachers and government workers to help solve the long-term funding woes of their pension system.

The measure that cleared the Pensions and Benefits Committee on a voice vote also would increase the state’s annual contributions to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System and increase the age at which many teachers and government workers could start drawing full retirement benefits.

The bill goes against a longstanding assumption that’s governed past debates over pension legislation, that the state constitution and Kansas law prevent the state from altering its public pension plans by forcing lower benefits on current participants. But committee members said they’re compelled to act because of the projected $7.7 billion gap between anticipated KPERS revenues and promised benefits over the next few decades.

“It’s not trimming around the edges,” Chairman Mitch Holmes, a St. John Republican, said after the committee’s meeting. “It goes to the fundamental problem.”

The bill is likely to draw opposition from public employees’ and retirees’ groups, who’ve long argued that the problem facing KPERS is that the state has historically fallen short of its obligations on contributing to the pension system and needs to catch up by committing more money. Critics of the current pension system contend the state simply can’t afford the promises it has made on pensions.

More at: http://www.cnbc.com/id/41991524

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