Kansas Senate leader promises KPERS funding will be addressed

? The leader of the Kansas Senate has vowed that the Legislature will address long-term funding problems with the state’s pension system for teachers and other government workers.

“We will have a definitive bill” this session, Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said. But he added that work on the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System would continue for a long time.

KPERS faces a projected $7.7 billion gap between future obligations promised to retirees and current workers and anticipated revenues.

A proposed Senate bill would increase the state’s contribution to the system. It would also require some workers to chip in more.

A plan in the House would create a 401(k)-style plan for new employees.

Morris, who was asked by Gov. Sam Brownback to come up with a proposal, said even if a 401(k)-type plan was started, that wouldn’t address closing the unfunded liability under the current plan.

State officials emphasize that current retirees’ benefits are safe.