Politics & Government

Brownback seeks $1.5 billion in bonds for Kansas pension system

TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing that Kansas issue $1.5 billion in bonds and lengthen its schedule for closing a long-term funding gap to lower annual costs tied to pensions for teachers and government workers.

The Republican governor outlined the measures Friday. Brownback described escalating annual public pension costs as a long-term concern.

The state has committed to additional spending to bolster the long-term financial health of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Benefits are only 60 percent funded through 2033, but the commitments would help close the $9.8 billion shortfall by then.

Brownback proposed extending the payoff period to 2043.

Issuing bonds is designed to shrink the long-term shortfall immediately. Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said KPERS’ investment earnings would rise more than enough to offset annual bond payments.