Part of Governor Sam Brownback’s budget proposal would delay payments into the state pension plan, KPERS. It would also take an additional 10 years to pay off a deficit in the retirement system. KPERS officials told lawmakers Thursday what those changes would mean.
The moves would help Kansas manage a budget deficit in the short term.
KPERS current has an unfunded liability of more than $8 billion. That’s the difference between promised benefits and projected costs. Alan Conroy, the executive director of KPERS, says the proposed changes would grow that unfunded liability by another $6.5 billion.
“You can not pay it now, but it is sort of like that mortgage on the house. You can pay less now, but guess what, if you refinance you’re going to pay more down the road,” says Conroy.
Some lawmakers seem skeptical of the proposal since they have taken steps in recent years to improve the financial health of KPERS.
The governor’s office says the budget plan is still an increase in payments into KPERS over past years.
Stephen Koranda reports: