A 13-member bipartisan commission has been created to address underfunding at the $13.29 billion Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, Topeka.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill last week establishing the commission, which will consider how to handle the roughly $7.7 billion in underfunding at the state retirement system.
The commission, tasked with considering alternative retirement plans, must present its report to the Kansas Legislature by Jan. 6, 2012. If the commission meets the deadline, that will trigger a number of reforms included in the bill already signed by Mr. Brownback.
Those reforms include increasing the employer contribution by 0.1 percentage points every year beginning in 2014 until the employer contribution totals 1.2%. The current rate is 0.6%. Employees will also have the option of increasing their contribution or reduce the multiplier used to determine their final benefit. The details differ between different tiers of employees.
The bill signed by Mr. Brownback also stipulates that 80% of all proceeds from excess real estate property sales by the state will be used to pay down the unfunded pension liability.
Kristen Basso, a KPERS spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview that the system has been dealing with decreasing the funding shortfall for more than a decade.
“It’s KPERS’ responsibility to administer benefits as they’re defined by the Legislature,” Ms. Basso said. “We’re glad it’s received the legislative attention it has.”