Stephen Koranda file photo

In just over a month, the state of Kansas could be borrowing $1 billion to inject into the state’s pension plan, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. A group made up of the governor and legislators has given final approval to the plan. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the money would be given to KPERS to invest.

Stephen Koranda

Kansas legislators are working Monday on the final version of a bill that would allow state to issue $1 billion dollars or more in bonds to the state pension system.

Lawmakers say the bonds will shore up the short-term financial health of the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

Governor Sam Brownback has proposed issuing $1.5 billion dollars in bonds.

Supporters say the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System will get an immediate infusion of funds and believe the earnings from investing the money will more than cover bond payments.

Stephen Koranda

A Kansas House committee is reviewing Governor Sam Brownback's proposal to issue $1.5 billion dollars in bonds, to help lower the state's annual costs in funding pensions for teachers and government workers.

The House Pensions and Benefits Committee's focus today is on a bill authorizing the bonds if the state would pay interest of 5 percent or less to bondholders.

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS, has a projected long-term funding gap of $9.8 billion dollars, and the state has committed to raising annual contributions to eliminate it by 2033.

The debate over school funding in Kansas may be shifting to focus more on employee pension costs.

Though the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System reported a 14.5 percent net return on investment last year, the fund's gap between assets and liabilities rose by $1 billion last year.

KPERS executive director Alan Conroy told state lawmakers Wednesday that deferred losses from the market collapse in 2008 are mostly to blame for the system's unfunded liability increase to $10.2 billion.

State Pension Plan Advances In House

Mar 26, 2013

Kansas House members have given first-round approval to a bill authorizing $1.5 billion in bonds to boost the financial health of the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

Committee Authorizes Bonds To Pay KPERS Debt

Mar 22, 2013

A state House committee has voted to authorize $1.5 billion dollars in bonds to bolster the state pension system for teachers and state government workers.

The Pensions and Benefits Committee vote was close- 7-6, and reflected a split of opinions over whether the legislation did enough to address a long-term funding gap facing the pension system.