Coalition asks Committee to Reject Pension Plan Switch Urges Legislature to Stay the Course on KPERS Reform

February 19, 2014

Coalition asks Committee to Reject Pension Plan Switch Urges Legislature to Stay the Course on KPERS Reform

Proposal Puts Wall Street Profits Ahead of Public Services

Topeka, Kan. — In response to a hearing held today on House Bill No. 2519, a proposal to switch Kansas public employees to 401(k)-style retirement plans, Rebecca Proctor, Chair of the Keeping the Kansas Promise issued the following statement:

“This proposal would be catastrophic for Kansas. It would cost taxpayers billions in transition costs and imperil the retirement security of our teachers, firefighters, police officers, and thousands of other public workers.  Only Wall Street banks, which will make a windfall from high fees associated with 401(k)-style plans, stand to gain anything from this scheme.

“More than a dozen states have studied and rejected the switch to 401(k)-style proposals because they are costly, wasteful and unreliable. A windfall of evidence shows that defined contribution plans fail to provide for an adequate retirement.  According to The Pensionomics 2012 Report, retiree expenditures from public pensions in Kansas supported $1.7 billion in total economic output.  For every taxpayer dollar contributed to Kansas pensions over the last 30 years, there has been $4.67 in total output.  With economic inequality growing, we need to expand retirement security for all Kansans, not threaten to retire future generations of public safety workers, nurses and teachers into poverty.”

“The 2012 KPERS cash balance reform act, a bi-partisan proposal passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Brownback, has put our public pensions system on a path to a secure future.  Now is not the time to abandon these important reforms.  The Legislature should let these reforms work and stay the course on KPERS!”

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