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Letters to the Editor

Legal evil

December 30, 2011

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To the editor:

Richard Stumpf (Your Turn, Dec. 21) described the KPERS commission as a failure. So how will our state government fix this? One probable way is the Legislature won’t want to fix it, but will require us taxpayers to pony up with higher taxes and bail them out to further finance their retirement funds at the expense of ours. I am absolutely furious about this cronyism and lack of self-discipline exercised by legislators and other politicians.

For many years, I have had the opinion that legislators seem to be the root of much evil because they craft laws that enable people to do evil things legally. With this KPERS problem of early retirement, under-funding, shortened vesting, counting on continued unrealistic growth of the stock market without regard to market swings were all purposefully considered by legislators thus enabling legal golden parachutes for themselves and their cronies knowing very well that we taxpayers will be legally required to bail out this faulted unbalanced system. As individual legislators move on and are replaced by newly elected legislators, no one ever blames them for creating this example of legal evil lawmaking.  Thus, my other opinion, once electable, they seem to be already corrupt.

I realize that there are good legislators who have high moral standards and believe in crafting ethical laws. But, when the Legislature, as one single entity, creates legal evil without any regard to, or influence by its constituents and its highly ethical members, it corrupts itself as a whole.

Comments

honestone 2 years, 3 months ago

FACT: Work for the state for 29 years making 10 -15 thousand less then someone in a comparable private sector position. Vested after 10 years. Pension = $22,000.00 per year

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weeslicket 2 years, 3 months ago

please remember, when kpers was created, there were no such things as iras, roth-iras, etc. pensions were all people had. so, argue all you want about whether pensions are more/less good than more "modern" investment strategies, but please acknowledge the historical facts.

@budman: 1) are you able to acknowledge that public sector workers work hard? 2) re: "Since you're all for higher taxes, I'm assuming you've never had to pay any in your entire life." that's just a silly assumption. your statement = fail

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Peter Macfarlane 2 years, 3 months ago

If the KPERS mess is anyone's problem, it's politicians and voters who think that they are entitled to pay the lowest amount possible in taxes. This is another aspect of the entitlement problem. The public is convinced that they are entitled to the services provided by the labor of the public sector, but they are unwilling to acknowledge that public sector workers should be paid a fair salary for their efforts.

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SnakeFist 2 years, 3 months ago

The issue isn't as simple as the letter-writer makes it seem. Compared to private-sector employees, public-sector employees generally get less pay over the course of their careers in return for greater benefits and job stability. If you're going to cut the latter, good luck finding competent, dedicated public-sector employees.

Conservatives have engaged in several forms of class warfare, only one of which is against public sector employees. The irony is how many conservatives - especially older conservatives - hold their hands out for government checks every month from programs administered by government employees. At some point, average Americans will set aside their naive hypocrisy and realize where their real interests lie.

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imastinker 2 years, 3 months ago

KPERS is a bad idea - the entire concept of a defined benefit pension is bad.

I have a friend who is two years away from being vested in KPERS. We're both 29 and he's only worked part time in the summer through HS and college, hasn't done it in several years. I just went to their website and he can come back as a pharmacist for the state for two years before retirement and earn nearly 20k/year for life.

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nativeson 2 years, 3 months ago

For those retired on KPERS, they will not see any change in benefits from any proposals by the administration. The future of any defined benefit plan is in question. They were designed at a time when everyone was working. The aging population is now retiring, and the formula-driven pension system is simply unsustainable. It must be changed.

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Lynn731 2 years, 3 months ago

I am retired on KPERS, and I am most concerned about my continued benefits. My opinion, most of them are crooks. They make laws that affect us, but not themselves. The reason KPERS is in such a mess is that the legislature stole money that they were supposed to be paying into the KPERS fund.

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mustrun80 2 years, 3 months ago

Robert,

You are forgetting Richards hopelessly naive point that without the government involved there would, in fact, be no 'legislative accountability."

You do know how scary the real world and personal responsibility is to liberals right? Even when they know the government is screwing the retirement accounts of public employees - they argue that someday altruistic, un corrupt politicians will be elected to bring about the utopia.

I know, I know, it hasn't happened - in fact Richard pointed out the opposite. But - expecting adults to take care of themselves is just way too much to expect. When the government is doing something wrong they simply need more money or power to fix the problem/corruption. Makes sense, right? Ha.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 3 months ago

The public employees donate a percent of their pay towards the program. The legislature has never contributed what they were suppose to contribute, even when Kansas had a surplus. The surplus years ago would have fully funded KPERS, and would have allowed it to weather the present financial storm. Instead they gave tax cuts that were suppose to create jobs, but didn't. Still waiting for those figures on how many jobs were created by the tax cuts.

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budman 2 years, 3 months ago

That's story with so many things which the government does. Once an ill planned program gets set in place its near impossible to revise or do away with it. Especially something like a pension plan, any politician trying to improve it or fix it will be seen as a greedy man trying to take well deserved benefits from employees.

But the truth is, the plans a mess and offers benefits that would never be seen for people working in private sector, but is it's completely funded with their money.

I commend Brownback for taking on these issues. I say that any retirement plan for public employees should mirror that of the private sector, and they shouldn't be awarded any frills when its being paid for by the endless pockets of taxpayers.

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