Kansas Proposal For $1.5B In Pension Bonds Advances

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas House members have given first-round approval to a bill authorizing $1.5 billion in bonds to boost the financial health of the state pension system for teachers and government workers.

The bill advanced Tuesday on a voice vote. House members expected to take final action on the bill by Wednesday, when passage would send it to the Senate.

The bill follows two years of legislation overhauling the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System to eliminate a projected $9.3 billion gap between anticipated revenues and benefits promised to public employees through 2033.

Supporters contend that injecting bond proceeds into KPERS will accelerate the pace at which the gap closes. But critics say the state is gambling that KPERS investment earnings will outstrip what the state pays on the bonds.