Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kansas House passes bill for fixing pension system

March 20, 2012


— The Kansas House has approved a bill to use revenues from state-owned casinos to help close a long-term funding shortfall facing the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

The measure, approved Tuesday on a 92-33 vote, also would require public employees hired after 2013 to choose between two new pension plans. Neither would be a traditional plan guaranteeing benefits up front based on a worker's salary and years of experience, and one would be a 401(k)-style plan.

The measure goes to the Senate, which is working on its own bill.

The state pension system projects an $8.3 billion gap between anticipated revenues and retirement benefits promised through 2033.

Supporters hope that over the next two decades, several billion dollars in casino revenues could go to the pension system.


Shane Garrett 5 years, 11 months ago

Okay everyone go have a good time, go have some fun, go to the local casino tonight. Where have I heard that jingle before?

Ragingbear 5 years, 11 months ago

The new plan options are "Screw You" and "@#$% Off". Both will suddenly go belly up about 2 years from retirement.

jmadison 5 years, 11 months ago

What is the average age of retirement for state employees, and for teachers? How many years of service for these employees? How many former state legislators are receiving benefits from the state?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 11 months ago

State employees may retire at 65 years of age or when they earn 85 points. Points = age + years of service. Thus, it is possible to retire at 55 if you have 30 years in. Most retire much later because they can't afford to retire without health insurance and wait 10 years for Medicare to kick in. Newer employees need 90 points, I think.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

New employees must have 30 years experience to retire at age 60. Otherwise, they go to 65.

jmadison 5 years, 11 months ago

Are there any statistics available as to what actually is occurring with state employees, teachers, and former legislators? Surely, the state pension funds should be able to report what is actually occurring in regards to retirement ages of these three categories of retirees. It would be helpful to make an informed opinion regarding the fairness of retirement benefits for these three groups.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

Seems to me if we did not spend so much money on entitlements, especially for those who really don't need them, things like public transportation, and all the other feels good not really needed things, there would be plenty of money to pay our public workers. But, we would rather give what funds we have to those who don't want to work.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 11 months ago

All transportation in KS except the turnpike is public transportation because public tax dollars pay for it. Your personal values may give more priority to roads than mass transit, but that is a matter for public policy to decide. If you don't like buses, don't ride them. Some people are dependent on mass transit. The young, the old, the sick, the poor, etc. Come to mind. As gas prices go up, more people will choose transit or carpooling. This is good for the environment and it eases congestion too...

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes. Granny should just get a job, and learn to drive. Never mind that she's 90 years old and blind. She's just lazy for wanting to get paid from the retirement system as she was promised and wanting to use public transportation instead of walking everywhere.

parrothead8 5 years, 11 months ago

It's never occurred to you that people who are unemployed paid into the system for years so that they wouldn't be utterly destitute in case the billionaire who used to employ them sent their jobs overseas, did you?

deec 5 years, 11 months ago

After the state neglects to fund the new plan like they did the old plan, they'll be having the same conversation in 20-30 years.

Michael LoBurgio 5 years, 11 months ago

Legislators' KPERS calculation a 'perk'

Comparing pensions

A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years' service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years' service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

The News asked some KPERS retirees about their pension benefits. Their answers varied widely.

A state employee who was a supervisor for juveniles on probation retired after 34 years with an annual benefit of about $25,000. A municipal wastewater treatment plant superintendent, with 24 years' service, estimated the earned benefit at $2,300 to $2,400 monthly.

A state social services worker in a supervisory role retired in 1995 after 15 years and draws a monthly KPERS benefit of $524. That is equal to the monthly benefit for a county-level commercial appraiser who retired at 65, vested at nine years with KPERS.


Kathy Mendenhall, a public speaking instructor at Hutchinson Community College and past president of the Hutchinson National Faculty Association, had not been aware of the annualized pay formula for legislators.

"Oh, wow," she said.

"Teachers work so hard for their pay. We give our heart and souls to our job," Mendenhall said. "There's a level of insult to our profession when those kinds of things happen."

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