Kansas public employee groups are defending the state's pension plan against a bill that would change it. The new system would compensate new hires with a 401(k) system more commonly used in the private sector. Kansas National Education Association lobbyist Terry Forsyth says the current plan has lower administrative costs, and has weathered the effects of recessions well.
The state is facing a 7.5 billion dollar shortfall in the current system, following the recession and years of under-funding by lawmakers. Legislators would still have to find money to cover that shortfall, since any changes to the public employee compensation package would only affect workers hired after a change is made.