Members of the Kansas Public Employee’s Retirement System (KPERS) gathered at the state capitol on Wednesday to rally against Gov. Sam Brownback’s plan to cut state contributions to the pension system.
Kansas is facing a $340 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2014-15.
To address the shortfall, Brownback plans to slash state pension contributions by $58 million this year.
Additionally, the state would issue $1.5 billion in bonds, with money going to the pension system’s investment fund.
Pension officials have warned that the plan could have long-term consequences.
The Topeka Capital-Journal has more from the rally:
Dennis Phillips, chairman of the Kansas Coalition of Public Retirees, said lawmakers had a responsibility to deliver financial certainty to 280,000 Kansas teachers, judges, firefighters and others participating in the retirement program. Sidestepping state payments to KPERS doesn’t make sense, he said.
“We need your support,” Phillips told retirees. “The governor wants to remove $60 million from KPERS this year. It is real money.”
“How many more of these payments will be deferred?” said Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield.
House Minority Leader Tom Burroughs, D-Kansas City, said actions undermining integrity of the system betrayed people who dedicated themselves to government service.
“Your pension plan, KPERS, was our commitment to you for standing up and taking these jobs,” he said.
Kansas PERS was 56.4 percent funded as of the end of 2013.
Photo credit: “Seal of Kansas” by [[User:Sagredo|<b><font color =”#009933″>Sagredo</font></b>]]<sup>[[User talk:Sagredo|<font color =”#8FD35D”>⊙☿♀♁♂♃♄</font>]]</sup> – http://www.governor.ks.gov/Facts/kansasseal.htm. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seal_of_Kansas.svg#mediaviewer/File:Seal_of_Kansas.svg