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Legislative Report with Eber Phelps – Day 69 – March 22, 2012 ((AUDIO))

Each day during legislative session, Rep. Eber Phelps presents his update here on Hays Post and also on 14 KAYS AM after the noon news, brought to you by the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Eber Phelps Day 69, 2012 (March 22, 2012)
Day 69,2012

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  • sam b

    HOUSE PASSES KPERS BILL

    This week the House passed a bill that includes a number of provisions to address the current KPERS $8 billion unfunded liability. Here are the key features of the bill:

    · On January 1, 2014, Tier I employees’ contribution (that would be most current employees) goes from 4% to 5%. On January 1, 2015, the employee contribution goes to 6%. The multiplier for calculating the retirement benefit goes from 1.75 to 1.85. Contributions prior to 2014 are unaffected. Points to retire are unaffected.

    · On January 1, 2014, Tier II employees’ lose the feature of a COLA after retirement. The multiplier goes from 1.75 to 1.85 and that is retroactive back to the hiring date. Points to retire are unaffected.

    · On January 1, 2014, new employees go into a “cash balance” plan instead of the traditional defined benefit plan. There is no multiplier. They get a flat 5% interest on their savings. New employees would vest after 7 years instead of the current 5 years. Age 65 with 30 years’ service would be full retirement.

    · Employer contributions to the fund are increased. This includes local employers like cities and counties.

    · On the House floor we put in a provision that up to $75 million a year from the state casinos would go toward fixing the KPERS unfunded liability.

    · We would reach equilibrium before 2025 with this plan. However, on the House floor we also added an option for new employees hired after January 1, 2014, to pick a defined contribution plan (i.e., 401k plan) instead of a cash balance plan for their retirement plan. New employees picking that 401k option would not be contributing to the unfunded liability, and that pushes the equilibrium date out. We are still waiting for actuarial numbers on adding this option, and I’m hoping it comes out of the bill when worked in conference with the Senate. We need to secure KPERS funding as soon as possible.

  • sam b

    House Republican 2013

    Community Health Centers were cut $1.8 million for screenings for
    non-Medicaid patients. Right now, even if you are not Medicaid eligible, you
    can go to a local community mental health center and talk to someone for an
    initial screening. Now those people will be turned away.

    · Family Centered Systems of Care was eliminated. This provides mental
    health services for families with children with serious emotional disturbances.

    · Family Preservation Reduction was cut by $654,000. This program helps
    families stay together and cuts about 600 families from the program.

    · Children’s Initiatives Funds were cut about $15 million. This
    includes a number of early childhood education programs.

    · $157,000 was cut from Addiction and Prevention Services grants,
    cutting services to about 100 Kansans.

    · Cut foster care contract rates by $2.3 million and foster care
    reimbursement rates by $3.4 million.

    · Cut child support enforcement contracts by $1.4 million.

    · Cut funding by $2.1 million for children over the age of 13 in SRS
    custody. This will mean more kids over the age of 13 who were in foster care
    due to out-of-control behavior, truancy, overwhelmed parents, etc., will not be
    covered. They will have to stay at home.

    · Cut support for Centers for Independent Living by 18%. This supports
    Kansans with developmental disabilities.

    · Reduce foster parent training by 13 percent or $111,000.

    · State employees get no raises and their longevity pay (for employees
    with 10 years or more service) is reduced.

  • sam b

    The House 2013 budget puts no new money per child into Kansas public schools.
    Not providing some kind of cost of living increase for schools puts pressure on
    local school boards to raise property taxes to cover the cost of inflation and
    improving schools.

    Public schools have endured more than their fair share of budget cuts over the
    last few years.

    Last year alone, Gov. Brownback asked for a $104 million cut to public schools
    - the largest cut to public schools – the largest cut to public education in
    Kansas history.

    In total, public education has been cut nearly $270 million since fiscal year
    2009.