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Study: Kansas public pension system a 'serious concern'

The Pew Center for the States has issued a new report on public pension systems across the country — and Kansas, the center says, faces serious public pension problems.

Kansas was one of 19 states rated with “serious concerns” for the unfunded liability of its pension programs for public employees.  In fact, Kansas was one of just eight states receiving zero points on the center’s four-point pension evaluation scale.

The center says just 59 percent of the state’s pension liabilities are funded.  Most experts say 80 percent is the minimum, although that has slipped a bit in the recession.

Last year the authors of a KU study said KPERS — the state’s primary pension program — was functionally “bankrupt,” a claim hotly denied by KPERS officials.

Overall, the center says, the nation’s public pension systems need $1 trillion to be adequately funded. You can find the full report here.

– From Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star