As your former Senator I still find myself concerned about the welfare of the people I once had the privilege of serving in the Legislature. Recently my concerns regarding the upcoming election were confirmed as attended at the State Fair in Hutchinson. This concern is regarding KPERS, the state retirement program for educational personnel and all state employees.
Did you realize that when Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature convened in 2010, KPERS, the Kansas pension and retirement program which provides retirement benefits for all state employees and members of KNEA, had been under investigation for four years, was facing securities and fraud charges, and was on the verge of bankruptcy? In the midst of many questionable uses of our tax money, SEC, the federal monitoring system, reported that, “the unfunded bond offerings which Kansas had made in 2009 and 2010 had caused the state’s pension program to be considered the second-worst funded program in the entire nation.”
Since that time, due to Gov. Brownback’s financial leadership, the cooperation of the Legislature, and a recovering economy, KPERS is once again headed in the right direction! But guess what? At the debate on Sept. 6, I heard Gov. Brownback’s opponent state that his plan was to return things to the way they were before Gov. Brownback took office. Even more disheartening was watching a large group of people in the audience, many who would be adversely affected, cheering loudly for that plan.
It would appear that many of those who have the most to lose, are part of an organization that is reportedly spending many thousands of dollars to defeat success, replacing it with the same philosophy that caused the problem in the first place. I am hoping that all members of KNEA and any of you whose present or future retirement is tied to KPERS (which includes all state employees) will research the facts and vote wisely.
Even if you may disagree with some of Gov. Brownback’s ideas, please consider the options rationally and carefully before you decide to mark your ballot on Nov. 4th.
Senator Larry Salmans, retired