Archive for Thursday, September 10, 2009

Statehouse Live: State officials promote Kansas Lifeline telephone program

September 10, 2009, 9:09 a.m. Updated September 10, 2009, 2:07 p.m.


Parkinson on KPERS

Governor talks about funding problems within public employee pension system Enlarge video

Related document

Kansas Lifeline Service Program details ( .PDF )

2 p.m.

State officials today touted a program that provides telephone discounts to low-income customers.

The Kansas Lifeline Service Program provides a discount of up to $17.77 per month on telephone services while the Link-Up program provides a 50 percent discount on phone line installation, up to $30.

Individuals are eligible if their household income is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, which for a family of four would be $33,075.

Approximately 29,000 receive the Lifeline service, but more are expected because of legislation that allows the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to work with phone companies to provide enrollment for people who receive public assistance programs.

Consumers statewide can also call their phone companies or dial the United Way's three-digit number 211 toll free to get information about this program or others.

Related document

KPERS Funding Problems ( .PDF )

12:40 p.m.

Gov. Mark Parkinson today said funding problems with the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System will require a look at various options, including possible to changes to benefits and eligibility for current employees.

“The longer we take to fix it, the harder the fix will be,” Parkinson said.

If there is a change to eligibility for KPERs benefits, it would be easiest to deal with new employees coming into the system, he said.

But, he added, “The underfunding is so significant, and could be become such a major problem down the road, that I think all options, including the eligibility of current members,” should be considered, he said.

Despite funding problems, KPERS officials have emphasized that all retirement benefits are safe and secure.

Related document

KCC video conference meeting ( .NEWSDOCUMENTS20090910MKEC_FACT_SHEET )

9 a.m.

The Kansas Corporation Commission will try an experiment by holding a video conference public hearing on a utility rate increase.

Mid-Kansas Electric Co. has requested a $16.4 million increase, which would increase its western Kansas customers’ bills on the average nearly 12 percent.

Normally, the KCC would hold public hearings in various locations in the utility’s service area to hear from ratepayers about the proposal before making a decision.

But now, the KCC plans to hold one video conference connected to five meeting sites.

On Wednesday, the three-member commission and its staff will be at the Southwest Medical Center in Liberal and will be connected to meeting sites in the Lane County Courthouse, Clifton-Clyde High School, Dodge City Public Library and Ellsworth High School. There also will be KCC staff members at those sites and Mid-Kansas customers will be able to testify to the KCC from those meetings.

KCC Chairman Thomas Wright said he believes the video conference will save money for both the agency and residents, who otherwise may have had to travel further distances to testify. He said he hoped that by having five sites set up, it would also increase public participation.


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