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Kansas House considering yet another change to KPERS

More changes to the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System are under consideration.

The Kansas House is mulling House Bill 2533, which would reduce the interest rate that public employees receive through KPERS over one percentage point.

The dip from 5.25 percent to 4 percent is designed to make KPERS more viable long-term.

Emporia Rep. Peggy Mast says this will apply to new KPERS employees should this be passed for 2015. Current KPERS workers should not be affected.

Lawmakers last year changed KPERS from a strictly-defined benefit program to a cash balance program. Emporia Rep. Don Hill says that change alone will make KPERS more sustainable with the benefit at one time projecting a nearly $10 billion gap between anticipated revenues and benefits over the next 20 years. However, he believes lawmakers shouldn't push for more wholesale changes.

Keeping the Kansas Promise, an advocacy group for public retirees, is against the proposal. Chairperson Rebecca Proctor says public employees essentially took a pay cut with the changes last year, and the group can't support what it says is another cut.

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