Government & Politics

Kansas House panel rejects raise in public pension benefits

TOPEKA – A Kansas House committee has rejected a bill that would give retired teachers and government workers small increases in their pension benefits.

The Pensions and Benefits Committee’s vote Wednesday was 7-5 against the measure.

Chairman and Republican Rep. Steve Johnson of Assaria said the biggest concern was the long-term cost of boosting benefits.

The state is working to close a projected $9.8 billion shortfall in funding for benefits promised into 2033.

The bill was designed to boost benefits for retirees to help them deal with increases in the cost of living. Increases would have ranged from 0.5 percent to 3 percent.

Kansas Coalition of Public Retirees Vice Chairman Ernie Claudel said the vote was disappointing because 70 percent of retirees have not received any adjustments in their benefits.