Governor looks at pensions for budget breathing room



January 7, 2020 - 9:54 AM

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and her Lt. Gov., Lynn Rogers

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly proposed Monday that Kansas give itself more breathing room in its budget by slashing annual payments to its pension system for teachers and government workers, offering a new version of a plan that the Republican-controlled Legislature spiked last year.

Kelly’s proposal would give the state an extra 10 years to close a long-term gap in funding for the state pension system. The move would free up tens of millions of dollars each year for more than a decade, money that could be used for schools and social services.

But it’s not clear if her new plan will fare any better than last year’s proposal  — which was dead from almost the moment she presented it to lawmakers. The Kansas Public Employee Retirement System projects Kelly’s proposal would increase the cost of closing the gap by a total of $4.4 billion — comparing it to extending the length of a home mortgage.

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