Archive for Friday, September 25, 2009

Statehouse Live: Parkinson, O’Neal disagree on KPERS fix

September 25, 2009, 8:45 a.m. Updated September 25, 2009, 12:14 p.m.


1:50 p.m.

Gov. Mark Parkinson said he doesn’t see having a 401(k)-style pension system for Kansas public employees as a viable option to solving long-term funding problems for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.

But House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, says it should be considered.

“Most are going to defined contribution plans and I think that’s what we need to be looking for long-term,” O’Neal said.

KPERS officials say current retirement benefits are safe but that the system has an unfunded actuarial liability of $8.3 billion. Most public pension systems are in similar situations, officials have said.

12:15 p.m.

Legislative leaders today said a request from the Kansas Board of Regents for a $117 million increase for higher education over three years will probably not be met.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, and House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, said they were sympathetic to the funding request, but that the state's struggling revenue problems would probably mean that the proposal is too much.

Morris said, "Right now, we'll be very lucky if we don't have to make significant cuts."

9:25 a.m.

The newly launched Center of Innovation for Biomaterials in Orthopaedic Research in Wichita has received a $2.1 million grant from Knight Foundation.

The center is devoted to creating medical devices from composite materials traditionally used in the aerospace industry.

Partners in the center include Wichita State University, the National Institute of Aviation Research, the Wichita Composites Advisory Board, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University and Via Christi Health System.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Bioscience Authority committed $4 million to the new center.

8:45 a.m.

State officials and a trade delegation from Taiwan will meet today in the Capitol to sign a memorandum on buying Kansas wheat.

The signing ceremony will take place in the Senate chamber around 11:30 a.m.

Taiwan was the 16th largest market for Kansas products in 2008. Kansas was the nation’s top wheat-producing state in 2009.


ralphralph 8 years, 7 months ago

Hey, wheat is about the only thing we make any more. It would be a good idea to really pump the exports if we are going to keep our ag sector viable.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 7 months ago

Mike O'Neal is either ignorant or completely disrespectful towards his employees.

The reason KPERS has issues is because of large losses in the market.

Of course, if the state switched to 401(k)s then those losses would just be "touch luck" for employees.

But then what do you expect from a guy who pays his secretary more than employees who actually manage state programs and pays his chief of staff a $20,000 signing bonus?

Hypocrite. At least he got his wife a job on the state payroll to go with her job on the State Fair's payroll.

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