Archive for Thursday, February 18, 2010

Report finds Kansas’ public pension system underfunded

February 18, 2010, 1:54 p.m. Updated February 18, 2010, 1:56 p.m.


— Kansas isn't maintaining its long-term public pension obligations according to a report from the Pew Center for the States that was released Thursday.

The report found that nationally there was a a $1 trillion gap between what states have promised employees in retirement and what is on hand to pay.

“Our analysis found that many states shortchanged their pension plans in both good times and bad, and only a handful have set aside any meaningful funding for retiree health care and other non-pension benefits,” the report said.

Kansas was rated as below par.

Last year, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System had a record unfunded actuarial liability of $8.3 billion. Glenn Deck, executive director of KPERS, has said that current retirement benefits are safe, but that the state needs a longterm strategy to reduce the liability.

Jane Carter, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, said the Pew report shows “the sheer neglect of our Legislature to make good on its commitment to the public retirees of Kansas.”

Carter said the state has failed to make adequate contributions to the system.


KSManimal 8 years, 3 months ago


Who would've thought that our fine upstanding well-respected pachyderm legislature would neglect their obligations? Meanwhile, all those state employees have paid faithfully their share of KPERS contributions....

At least they can enjoy all those tax exemptions. Wait, THEY didn't get any tax exemption. Nevermind.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 3 months ago

I am truly shocked that a government entity can't manage it's finances....{end sarcasm}

WilburM 8 years, 3 months ago

There's enough blame to go around here, but the GOP has controlled the Legislature (which spends money and enacts taxes) almost completely for the past fifty years. This situation puts at risk tens of thousands of employees who worked long and hard, with the understanding that a decent (hardly lucrative) set of retirement benefits would be assured. So, in the 1990s, when things were going well, tax cut after tax cut provided short-term gains, but at the cost of fiscal responsibility. But hey, it's only state workers (and school teachers across the state, and many other), so who cares?

This is a financial disaster, but it's also a moral failure.

yankeevet 8 years, 3 months ago

So all this money i have been putting into KPERS is gone??? No wonder that guy flew his plane into that building....................the american worker is getting f..................... every day....

Phil Minkin 8 years, 3 months ago

Repugs constantly harp on the debt we don't want to leave for our children and the need to cut taxes. We can see the result of this plan,with crumbling infrastructure, school closings and now an under funded pension system that will devastate people as they retire and be even more expensive in the future. SHAMELESSLY IRRESPONSIBLE

somebodynew 8 years, 3 months ago

All of this is a direct result of the Legislature not providing the funds MANDATED IN LAW to the fund for several years and spending them elsewhere. What a crock. Hope when the elections come around this is remembered.

amac 8 years, 3 months ago

As a state employee, I don't understand WHY contributing to KPERS is mandatory. There clearly will not be any money when (if ever), I can retire.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 3 months ago

Unfortunately KS employees have been cut too and early retirements handed out...but no one is being hired to replace the jobs that were lost. Those are all people who used to pay into KPERS.

Bob_Keeshan 8 years, 3 months ago

AreUNorml (anonymous) says...

I am truly shocked that a government entity can't manage it's finances....

KPERS suffered big losses in 2008, about 28.5%.

However, the average 401k lost 40% in 2008.

The gov't entity did just fine.

somebodynew 8 years, 3 months ago

Yes Bob_Keeshan you are correct. The investments did OK compared to most plans. What people are not getting is that the Legislature has not put in their amount (specified in law) for several years. The employees have their monies taken but the "employer" has failed to provide their mandated contribution, because they are legislators and can vote to give that money elsewhere. That is why this is failing and the poor employees are feeling the pain.

ChrisNyberg 8 years, 3 months ago

KPERS and Social Security. Pay in and get nothing. Tea Party anyone?

Paula Kissinger 8 years, 3 months ago

Pour me a cup of tea, Chris, and we can chat about how the only smart people at KU are those in the police department who many years ago, when finally available to them, switched their retirements/pensions to Kansas Fire & Police. Only sorry that mine was locked many years ago into KPERS when I "retired" on a work-related disability.

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