Budget has Kansas lawmakers struggling over pensions

March 22, 2017 - 6:55 pm

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators are trying to avoid the kind funding moves with public employee pensions that previously clouded the retirement system's long-term financial health.

But lawmakers are wrestling with the state's serious budget problems and were not sure Wednesday whether the state could afford its full, annual commitments.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has proposed freezing annual pension contributions at 2016 levels to help erase projected budget shortfalls totaling more than $1 billion through June 2019.

The Senate budget committee has added a total of $330 million to its proposed budgets for the two fiscal years beginning in July 1 to keep contributions where they're supposed to be. Its House counterpart voted Wednesday to put off a decision.

The annual contributions were set to increase to bolster the pension system's health.

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