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Kansas officials struggle with pension fund's woes

TOPEKA | A sour economy has worsened the long-term funding problems of Kansas' public pension system enough for a recent report to declare it "bankrupt."

Many state officials dispute that description of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. But they also acknowledged Wednesday that KPERS has serious financial issues that must be addressed.

Fund officials say that at the end of 2008, there was an $8.3 billion gap between the fund's projected income and what it would have to pay in benefits over the next 25 years.

KPERS officials say current retirees' benefits aren't in danger.

But the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas issued the recent report calling KPERS bankrupt. It says the pension system must be overhauled to keep it solvent.

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