Bad economy knocks 27 percent from KPERS value

TOPEKA | State lawmakers have been told that the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System lost almost 27 percent of its value in 2008, a record decline.

KPERS Executive Director Glenn Deck on Tuesday said the fund plunged to just over $10 billion from an all-time high of more than $14 billion in 2007. Deck told an interim House-Senate panel studying state pension issues that "current benefits are safe."

But Deck added that 2008 losses are "very unprecedented."

Senate President and committee co-chair Steve Morris said there's no current discussion about raising the contribution requirements of current employees. But members suggested the Legislature consider not granting a cost-of-living adjustment for the state's 68,000 retirees.