The good news is that the unfunded liability for the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System has been reduced by $600 million. The bad news is that the liability is still $7.6 billion. KPERS officials told lawmakers last week that improved investment returns reduced the difference between KPERS’ assets and future obligations from $8.2 billion at the end of 2008 to $7.6 billion. “We still have a major funding shortfall,” said Glenn Deck, executive director of KPERS. “We had some modest improvement.” But more improvements are needed. Lawmakers should consider changes to KPERS, such as adjusting employee payments, redefining benefits to future retirees, increasing the state’s contribution to the fund, or transitioning to a 401(k)-like plan.
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