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KPERS needs attention

Waiting for the stock market to heal itself won't be enough to guarantee the long-term solvency of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, according to its experts. As 2008 ended, the system's unfunded actuarial liability was at a record $8.3 billion, up $2.7 billion from 2007 — and not that far from equaling the fund's $10 billion in assets. The KPERS board and staff are doing an analysis of the system's funding status and how state leaders might respond to it. They plan to provide the governor and legislative leaders with the results this fall, so the 2010 Legislature can act. If the state's next budget is anything like the current one, the pressure will be great to think about KPERS another day. But as our editorial today argues, leaders need to get going on a plan of attack, so public employees and retirees can trust they'll get what's coming to them.