Topeka Gov. Mark Parkinson said Thursday that funding problems for the state pension fund may force changes in its benefit plans.
Parkinson said he’s looking at all options for closing a long-term funding shortfall for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. However, spokeswoman Beth Martino later said he’s not advocating cuts in benefits paid to current retirees.
The fund has said that at the end of 2008, there was an $8.3 billion gap between its projected income and what it would have to pay in benefits over the next 25 years. The retirement fund has assets of about $10 billion.
“The underfunding is so significant, in my view, everything has to be looked at,” Parkinson said after a Statehouse event.
Officials generally have argued that the state legally can’t adjust benefits or change eligibility requirements for current participants, only for people entering the system.
Parkinson said he’s willing to consider changes in eligibility requirements for current participants. He was not more specific.
Martino said: “He is not advocating cutting benefits for current retirees, but he does believe that all other options should be carefully evaluated.”