In 2019, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly included re-amortization of the KPERS unfunded actuarial liability as part of her budget package. Re-amortization in that budget would have reduced the annual cost of KPERS to the state, freeing up money to address school finance and the other pressing needs of the state.
On Monday, Governor Kelly announced that re-amortization would again be a proposal in her budget. While KNEA generally opposes actions that would slow down the path to equilibrium in KPERS, we are not prepared at this time to weigh in in support or in opposition to the Governor’s proposal for several reasons.
First, the proposal will be part of the Governor’s effort to balance the budget and provide quality state services. Until the full budget proposal is released and can be analyzed, we would not be able to fully understand the impact of re-amortization.
Secondly, before deciding which is the best path forward, KNEA and our allies in the Keeping the Kansas Promise Coalition will need to meet with Alan Conroy, Executive Director of KPERS, to hear his analysis of the long-term impact on KPERS.
What we do know is that re-amortization will not impact the benefits now being paid to current retirees or to future retirees unless legislators were to return to their past habit of reducing or not making the state’s employer contributions. Recently, the state has been making payments the meet the actuarial requirements and last year the legislature paid back some withheld payments ahead of schedule. By continuing to meet the actuarial needs of the system, any impact of re-amortization would be mitigated. We will also be closely working with the legislative committees responsible for KPERS to ensure that we stay on track.
We will continue to report in this forum on any actions taken in regard to KPERS including any that help or harm the system. We urge you to be a regular reader of “Under the Dome” and to take action when action is called for.