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Kansas Budget Plan Draws Concern Over KPERS Cuts

Several Senate lawmakers have criticized Governor Sam Brownback's plan to use state pension dollars to help fill a budget hole.

Senate Vice President Jeff King and state Treasurer Ron Estes think the proposal hurts the public pension plan, known as KPERS, not long after an attempt to fix it.

Stephen Koranda reports...

Lawmakers passed a bill in 2012 that increased payments into KPERS to help erase a long-term deficit.

Republican Governor Brownback’s plan takes $40 million away from KPERS. Brownback says they were trying to find budget savings while avoiding cuts to education spending.

“There are only so many places you can go. So I’m hopeful we can continue to make progress on it, look at other options that we have for dealing with that long-term deficit that’s there in KPERS that’s been building for 20, 30 years,” says Brownback.

Democratic Topeka state Senator Anthony Hensley doesn't agree that the KPERS cut protects education funding. He points out that Brownback previously counted the KPERS funding as part of the state's spending on education.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.