The Buzz

Kansas pension shortfall among worst in nation

Updated: 2013-09-17T15:30:23Z

By DAVE HELLING

The Kansas City Star

The Kansas budget picture may soon get more complicated.

We’ve written about the decline in state revenues. State officials say the revenue slumps were predicted and are not alarming.

The state’s Supreme Court will soon hear the case involving school finance. The justices could order the state to dramatically increase per-pupil spending, or approve the current funding level, or something in between.

And today, the Tax Foundation says the state’s public pension system is one of the most under-funded in the nation.

A report released Tuesday shows the Kansas funding ratio at 29 percent of liabilities. Only Illinois, Connecticut, and Kentucky are in worse shape.

Missouri is 40 percent funded. California, 42 percent. Florida, 46 percent.

Most other studies have placed the funding ratio in Kansas at a much higher rate, but it’s still low relative to almost every other state in the country.

The state has passed public pension reform, but various groups suggest it may not be enough. If so — and if taxpayers are asked to contribute more to restore the system to health — the budget squeeze could grow worse.

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