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Letters to the Editor

KPERS slight

September 6, 2011

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To the editor

With all the money the state has in reserve, you would think KPERS retirees could get a cost of living adjustment. The state quit funding KPERS many years ago. Sweet deal for Kansas politicians; they have more money to squander. Kansas University gives back $4.5 million, and it goes to the state Capitol restoration. Millions of dollars have been spent on that project. Costs have gone above and beyond the first cost estimates. What do the politicians want this time? Mink-lined toilet seats?

There is $180 million in reserve, plus $4.5 million from KU and supposedly $689,000 in arts funding. Maybe someday KPERS retirees will get the gold and not the shaft, which we have received for the last 20 years.

One thing about our elected officials. The problems exist and they have town meetings, which is a waste of time. They don’t care about someone else as long as they get theirs. There is a lot of talk but no action.

Comments

nativeson 3 years, 3 months ago

Defined benefit penison plans unsustainable. The KPERS hole is between $10 billion and $20 billion depending on the interest assumption on earnings. The general fund also still has indebtnessness it borrows during the year to fund operations. A $180 million reserve will get eaten up quickly.

The bigger issue for KPERS participants is for the legislature to create a sustainable model that members can rely on in the future.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

Defined benefit plans are sustainable, if the state funds the system adequately, makes reasonable assumptions about investment returns, and calculates benefits correctly.

SinoHawk 3 years, 3 months ago

Which has happened when? The problem is that politicians always have incentive to raid the pot and find ways to do so. I read that KS is one of the most underfunded pension schemes in the country (the worst is IL, the most funded in NY). I am a fan of a system that has guaranteed pay-ins, but pays out based on actual returns. That system is much harder to game.

james bush 3 years, 3 months ago

I do not remember the state guaranteeing that retirees would get cost of living raises. Do you?

BlackVelvet 3 years, 3 months ago

Many of us seldom saw even COLA's while we were working. Why would we assume we would get them while retired?

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

If KPERS is invested in Wall Street too bad. Many political scams impact playing Wall Street or other investment mechanisms.

For example:

  1. TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments, public schools,SRS services etc etc to private industry = Grab Your Wallets!

http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  1. The Reagan/Bush Savings and under Bush/Cheney sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ Loan Heist(Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), millions of jobs.loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  2. Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

  3. ONLY 3 financial institutions instead of several were at risk so why $700 billion in bail out money? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to Amercan citizens http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

Tax cuts aka ENTITLEMENTS do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again.

  1. Still A Bad Idea – Bush Tax Cuts - The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

BigDog 3 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Lemon, Let me get this right ... you want a defined benefit retirement plan, which provides you with a set monthly amount for the rest of your life without any risk from investment. The state takes all of the risk. An average retiree draws out significantly more than they ever paid in .... yet every year that there is an ending balance in the state coffers you think you should get a cost of living increase.

Kansas has two groups whom aren't good for the state's economy ..... those who want to spend more as soon as an extra dollar comes in. The other group are those who want to cuts taxes (often of business and corporations) every time an extra dollar comes in. Kansas needs to put the extra dollars aside for economic downturns, to pay off its substantial debt and to pay for its needs with cash instead of bonding (loans) on so many things.

Joe Hyde 3 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Bob Lemon is an above-average retiree who put in significantly more years doing the important and often dangerous work of protecting the public safety, unlike the jobs held by many KPERS beneficiaries (but they deserve COLAs, too).

Jan Rolls 3 years, 3 months ago

Some people are just plain idiots. The person that doesn't believe cost of living adjustments are deserved must also think that during their entire working career they should never get a raise. Retirees gave many years to the state and deserve cost of living increases as much as sham the sham believes that he can fire people willy nilly and then create high paying positions for his friends with no experience. All of you complainers about a small cost of living increase where are you when sam pulls this stuff?

nativeson 3 years, 3 months ago

Defined benefit pensions are not sustainable in this current environment. There is no fixed income investments paying almost any return, and the markets are incredibly volatile. Pension plans in some municipalities are forcing bankruptcy. Plans that are defined contribution like a 401k certainly do not have the same benefit, but we now live in a new economy where older investment strategies no longer apply.

jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

If the contributions, returns, and benefits are calculated correctly, there's no reason why they can't be sustainable.

Long-term Treasury bonds are paying about 4%/year, last time I looked.

The main problems with the pension plans I've seen is that they invested in riskier investments, and projected overly optimistic returns.

Some even invested with Madoff, expecting consistent 12%/year returns.

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