Kelly’s KPERS plans draw swift rebuke

By

State News

January 21, 2019 - 10:27 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A key part of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposed budget dealing with pensions appears doomed, creating potential trouble for her efforts to boost spending on public schools and expand the state’s Medicaid health insurance program without raising taxes.

Opposition hardened swiftly Friday to a proposal from the new Democratic governor to cut the next 17 years’ worth of annual payments to the still-underfunded pension system for teachers and government workers. Kelly outlined the measure Thursday, along with the other details of her proposed $18.4 billion spending blueprint for the budget year that begins in July.

The move would free up $145 million during the next budget year, enough to cover the annual costs to the state projected by Kelly’s administration for her plans to increase education funding and expand Medicaid to cover another 150,000 low-income Kansans. The move also allows Kelly to finance other initiatives while maintaining health cash reserves.

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