Earlier this year, Kansas delayed a nearly $100 million payment to the pension system for public workers. Some lawmakers are skeptical the state will live up to its promise to repay that money. Stephen Koranda reports.
Kansas lawmakers created the option to delay the payment to help manage a tight budget. The bill they passed said it would have to be paid back into KPERS by the state with interest, but so far they haven’t started doing that.
Democratic Representative Ed Trimmer wants to pay it back, but he says without some new state revenue, that’s a pipe dream.
“It’s a promise I don’t believe. I don’t think we’ll ever make that payment. Economically, I don’t see how the state can,” says Trimmer.
Republican Representative Steven Johnson opposed issuing the bonds initially. He believes the delayed money will be paid back to KPERS, eventually.
“It’s just how much longer does it continue to accrue interest, essentially, at 8 percent while we don’t pay it? It just makes it bigger and harder to pay in the future,” says Johnson.
Under current law, the payment is supposed to be paid back by 2018.