One of the promises I made to the people of the 111th District was that I would support making the necessary payments to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to ensure that Kansas could keep the retirement promises it has made to government workers, especially teachers. As a member of the House Committee on Financial Institutions and Pensions, I am fortunately in a position to help make that happen.

Gov. Laura Kelly, however, has other ideas. Rather than make this year’s payment of $116 million to KPERS, the budget she submitted to the legislature proposes to refinance Kansas’ already unfunded actuarial liability over a new 30-year period, at a cost to tax payers of $7.4 billion in interest.

I do not believe this is a Republican or Democratic issue, but rather just commonsense fiscal policy by which we simply take care of business and make our much-needed annual payment to KPERS based on a 2012 law which, interestingly enough, then- Sen. Laura Kelly helped draft.

The bipartisan Kansas Public Employees Retirement System’s Board of Trustees condemned the Governor’s pension proposal and voted unanimously to declare its opposition in writing to legislators. KPERS trustees said that adopting Kelly’s plan would undo progress the state has made in stabilizing its public pension system.

I couldn’t agree more. The Governor’s idea makes little sense to me and I will be voting to make this year’s required KPERS payment.

Thanks for letting me serve you.

Barb Wasinger

State Representative, 111th District