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Time to stop digging
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Dear Editor,
During his State of the State address, Gov. Brownback told Kansans that when you’re in a hole the first thing you need to do is stop digging.
He was referring to the Kansas Public Employee’s Retirement System (KPERS) and the $8.7 billion unfunded liability currently facing the state’s pension system.
First, let’s look at the staggering numbers associated with a defined contribution plan, or 401(k) approach, being proposed by the governor and legislative leaders.
Projections by the state’s own actuary show the new plan envisioned by the KPERS study commission will require the state to pay an additional $10.9 billion, that’s billion with a b, than the current system.
Throw in the millions of dollars in bonded debt the commission asked the Legislature to consider and you have a level of borrowing and spending that would make even the most fiscal liberal blush.
So who stands to gain from moving KPERS to a defined contribution plan?
The answer is simple!
The Wall Street bean counters and special interests will gain by making their money at the expense of hard working public sector employees who live on Main Street Kansas: our school employees, teachers, custodians, paraprofessionals, food service staff, our county and state road workers, our county employees, our firefighters.
These are people you see often. 
They are your family, your friends, or your neighbors. 
What could possibly go wrong with letting Wall Street investment firms determine the solvency of the future retirement system public employees will rely on? 
Haven’t we been here before? 
Yes, the Wall Street investors got a bail out and consumers lost everything.
I agree that when you’re in a hole to stop digging.
But I don’t think burying taxpayers in a mountain of debt or expecting our public workers to retire in poverty is the answer.
I hope legislators and the governor heed his own advice and abandon this costly pension scheme.
Kansas taxpayers are depending on it!
Judy Johnson,
Great Bend