KPERS plan faces opposition

By

State News

February 5, 2019 - 9:30 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly worked Monday to rescue a key budget proposal that would reduce Kansas’ annual payments to its public pension system by trying to sell the plan to wary retired teachers and government workers.

Kelly’s plan faces widespread opposition among Republican lawmakers, who view it as her way of freeing up state funds for additional spending on public schools and government programs. Her plan would reduce planned payments to the still-underfunded pension system for 17 years, delaying the closing of a long-term funding gap by 15 years.

The GOP-dominated Legislature shorted annual pension payments in recent years to help close budget shortfalls but balked in 2017 when then-GOP Gov. Sam Brownback proposed giving the state an additional decade to close the pension system’s funding gap. Kelly, formerly a veteran state senator from Topeka, was a strong critic of Brownback’s policies.

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