Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas employee pension plan has not been getting a very good return on its investments recently.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

For the second time in two years, a major ratings agency downgraded Kansas' credit rating Tuesday because of the state's budget problems.

From the AP:  

S&P Global Ratings dropped its rating for Kansas to "AA-," from AA, three months after putting the state on a negative credit watch. S&P also dropped the state's credit rating in August 2014.

Pew Charitable Trust

A report out this week from Pew Charitable Trusts found that unfunded pensions are the largest claim on future revenues in the state of Kansas.

The data set looks at the debt of all 50 states, the money owed into pension funds, and future money owed for retiree health care.

Using data from 2013, the report found Kansas has a $9.8 billion shortfall between the benefits promised to teachers and government workers and the savings available to meet those obligations.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Kansas lawmakers struggled over the weekend, working late nights as they tried to craft a budget solution. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, they ultimately approved a plan in the early hours of Monday morning.

Jimmy Everson, DVM, flickr Creative Commons

The state of Kansas reduced its revenue projections for this fiscal year and the next by $228.6 million, further increasing the state's budget deficit. As a result, Gov. Sam Brownback proposed three plans for erasing the shortfall, one of which affects K-12 education.

The plan would cut spending to public schools, universities and most state agencies by nearly $140 million. Cuts ranging from 3 percent to 5 percent would reduce funding for school districts across the state by more than $57 million.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Update from KHI News Service on 4/20/2016:

Kansas officials got the bad news they were expecting.

After reading the economic tea leaves and noting that state tax collections have been short of expectations in 11 of the past 12 months, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group reduced its revenue projections for this budget year and the next by $228.6 million.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Gov. Sam Brownback announced today that he will delay payments to the state's retirement fund. The move, he says, would help address Kansas budget shortfall.

Kansas is delaying roughly $90 million in contributions to pensions for public school and college employees as a potential short-term response to lower-than-expected tax collections.

Gov. Sam Brownback's office announced the move Friday. It said Brownback's budget director notified the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System that the contributions due on April 15 would be "temporarily delayed."

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / KPR

The Kansas Senate approved proposals aimed at preventing the state from shorting its contributions to public pensions or having private companies run its two mental hospitals, part of a larger plan it also advanced Thursday night to balance the next state budget.

Senators added the pension and hospital measures as amendments to a bill that would eliminate a projected deficit of nearly $200 million in the state's $16.1 billion spending blueprint for the fiscal year beginning July 1. They approved the entire bill, 24-15.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback's authority to temporarily short Kansas' contributions to public pensions would be limited under a budget-balancing measure the Kansas House was debating Wednesday.

The bill would eliminate a projected deficit of nearly $200 million in the state's $16.1 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

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