Opinion Columns & Blogs

Merrick’s scrutiny should include legislators’ pensions


Not surprisingly, public employees took offense to the ridiculous statement by Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, that “government employees produce nothing. They’re a net consumer.” Speaking to The Eagle’s Bryan Lowry, Merrick also said: “And you got that cost forever and ever and ever because they’re on the KPERS (pension) plan, they’re on all the government insurance and everything.” Now an online petition seeks Merrick’s removal as speaker. As for Merrick’s promise that “all areas of government spending will be under scrutiny”: His first look should be at the outrageous special rules that inflate the pensions of lawmakers. For example, their pensions can be calculated as if they receive pay and per diem expenses not merely for a 90-day legislative session but for 365 days a year. Not only is that nuts, but why should Kansas’ citizen legislators need public pensions at all? – Rhonda Holman