KPERS members who retired before 2004 would see a 1 percent increase or more if the bill is passed. The retirees wore green stickers with the acronym COLA at their rally.
House Minority Leader
Davis, the probable Democratic nominee for governor, said inflation and increased health care costs have hit public retirees hard.
"I hear it all over the state from retirees who are really struggling to get by, because their retirement is not what it used to be," he said after concluding his speech. "It is a real issue for thousands upon thousands of Kansans."
"We didn't get that much as schoolteachers," Hayes said. "We paid into it. It was part of our paycheck."
"A lot of us, that's all we have, what we get from
"I know inflation has happened," Howell said. "One of the problems with the (defined benefit) plan is that it has no provisions for inflation."
House Bill 2519 would put public employees hired after
Defined benefit means retirees who have paid into KPERS receive a set amount of money each year. Direct contribution would be more similar to private-sector plans like 401(k) plans.
Many of the retirees at the rally expressed concern about the possible change to direct contributions. Democrats have also voiced disapproval.
Howell cautioned against over-reactions. Legislators are only hearing testimony on the bill at this point, and as it stands it would not change any benefits for current public employees or retirees.
"But I'll just tell you this, and this is the important point that I think people need to know: If we do nothing it puts them (retirees) at a higher risk," Howell said.
"What we're trying to do is find a way to solve the future problem so we can stabilize, if you will, our promise to people who we already owe benefits to," Howell said. "To not have a discussion out of fear is not smart."
Senate Minority Leader
"It puts people into a 401(k) system at the expense of people that are already in the system, the retirees. The base of the system is whittled away over time because you don't have people contributing into KPERS," Hensley said.
Claudel said that legislators should stop tinkering with the KPERS system and keep the current cash balance plan.
KPERS faces a
On Tuesday, the
"All of these changes are solely focused on people who start working after
King said legislators are just trying to streamline the state's cash balance plan to ensure that future retirees receive benefits.
"We're worried whether under the current bill we can ever pay a dividend. And it's in the interest of retirees that we're able to pay dividends," King said.
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