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Senate Budget Allows Kansas To Delay KPERS Payments

Stephen Koranda

A Kansas Senate committee has voted to let Gov. Sam Brownback delay making payments into the state pension plan.

Republican Sen. Jim Denning says delaying state payments into the retirement fund could help Kansas manage a tight budget.

“We need to have some working capital to catch our breath, and this maneuver will give us that,” Denning says.

The proposal says the delayed payments should be paid back into KPERS, with interest, over the next two years.

Democratic Sen. Laura Kelly says the move looks like a loan being taken out of the retirement fund for state workers and teachers.

“I have never seen it being used essentially as a credit card, and that’s what we’re doing here,” Kelly says.

Kelly is also concerned lawmakers may choose not to pay the money back into KPERS. The pension plan currently faces a long-term deficit, although lawmakers have reduced the shortfall in recent years.

The budget in the Kansas House also contains a provision allowing the governor to delay KPERS payments.

Update: The Kansas House voted Wednesday to limit the governor's ability to short the state's contribution to public pensions.