KPERS

Decoding Duane Goossen

Decoding Duane Goossen

When reading the writings of former Kansas State Budget Director Duane Goossen, it's useful to have a guide grounded in reality. In a look back at the Kansas Legislature this year, former state budget director Duane Goossen has a few opinions. Here are a few, as appeared in the Wichita Eagle, and some counter arguments. "Kansans, we are done being kicked around." No, Kansans are just starting to be kicked around even harder. That's what higher taxes represent. "We became famous, the poster state for bad tax policy." No, Kansas became the poster state for bad spending policy. Our legislature…
Read More
Explaining the Kansas budget, in a way

Explaining the Kansas budget, in a way

A video explaining the Kansas budget is accurate in many aspects, but portrays a false and harmful myth regarding school spending. A popular video explaining the Kansas budget deserves scrutiny for some of the data presented. The video is available at the Facebook page of Loud Light. The presentation makes a few good points. For example, the video is correct in that the sales tax is a regressive tax, affecting low-income households in greater proportion. During the capaign for a Wichita city sales tax in 2014 I analyzed Census Bureau data and found that the lowest income class of families…
Read More
Wichita student/teacher ratios

Wichita student/teacher ratios

Despite years of purported budget cuts, the Wichita public school district has been able to improve or maintain student/teacher ratios. When discussing school funding, there is controversy over how spending should be measured. What funds are included? Is KPERS included? Should we adjust for enrollment and inflation? What about bond and interest funds and capital outlay? The largest expenditures of schools -- some 80 percent nationwide -- is personnel costs. In Kansas, and Wichita in particular, we're told that budget cuts are causing school class sizes to increase. When we look at numbers, we see that the Wichita school district…
Read More
WichitaLiberty.TV: Blight, guns, testimony, and KPERS

WichitaLiberty.TV: Blight, guns, testimony, and KPERS

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Co-host Karl Peterjohn joins Bob Weeks to discuss the fight on blight and property rights, guns on campus, availability of testimony in the Kansas Legislature, and KPERS, our state’s retirement system. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Episode 137, broadcast February 5, 2017. Shownotes Article: In Kansas, the war on blight continues Article: Availability of testimony in the Kansas Legislature Article: Again, KPERS shows why public pension reform is essential
Read More
Again, KPERS shows why public pension reform is essential

Again, KPERS shows why public pension reform is essential

Proposals in the Kansas budget for fiscal year 2018 are more evidence of why defined-benefit pension plans are incompatible with the public sector. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has proposed delays in funding KPERS, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The delays are in both directions. The state intends to break a past promise to pay, and also to skip some future payments. A memo from KPERS summarizes recent history and the proposed changes: "Last fiscal year, the State delayed its fourth quarter payment for School employer contributions with a promise to pay it in Fiscal Year 2018 with interest. The…
Read More
A Wichita school official talks about KPERS

A Wichita school official talks about KPERS

A board member of the largest school district in Kansas repeated an untruth that has unfortunate consequences for Kansas schoolchildren. At a recent meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club Wichita school board member Sheril Logan participated in a panel discussion on local government legislative agenda. (The entire program may be accessed here.) She told the audience, "Truly, data can be maneuvered to make it look like what you want. We all know that. So can funding streams." She went on to explain that what happened in the "last couple of years" was, for example, KPERS funds being counted differently. What…
Read More
No one is stealing* from KPERS

No one is stealing* from KPERS

No one is stealing from KPERS, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. But there are related problems. You don't have to look for long on Facebook before you'll find comments like these regarding KPERS, the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System: "This is BS. Stupid Brownback robbed our pension plan; we have no real confidence that it will ever be paid back. Why don't we have some kind of safety measure in place to prevent governors like him from stealing from us?" "If the governor would keep his greedy hands off of the KPERS money that is there, we might not…
Read More
Year in Review: 2016

Year in Review: 2016

Here are highlights from Voice for Liberty for 2016. Was it a good year for the principles of individual liberty, limited government, economic freedom, and free markets in Wichita and Kansas? Also be sure to view the programs on WichitaLiberty.TV for guests like journalist, novelist, and blogger Bud Norman; Radio talk show host Joseph Ashby; David Bobb, President of Bill of Rights Institute; Heritage Foundation trade expert Bryan Riley; Radio talk show host Andy Hooser; Keen Umbehr; John Chisholm on entrepreneurship; James Rosebush, author of "True Reagan," Jonathan Williams of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); Gidget Southway, or Danedri Herbert;…
Read More
State pension cronyism

State pension cronyism

A new report details the way state pension funds harm workers and taxpayers through cronyism. Updated to accurately reflect the time period of the targeted investments. American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has released a report detailing the various ways state employee pension funds are harmed by cronyism. The report may be read at Keeping the Promise: Getting Politics Out of Pensions. The problem, ALEC reports, is: "Unfortunately, many lawmakers and pension plan officials have other priorities besides doing what is best for workers. They see the billions of pension fund dollars they manage as an opportunity to advance their own…
Read More
Gary Sherrer and Kansas Policy Institute

Gary Sherrer and Kansas Policy Institute

A former Kansas government official criticizes Kansas Policy Institute. I wouldn't normally use a Facebook comment in a public way, but the comment was left in public, to a post on my Facebook profile. Plus, the writer is a former Kansas government official. He's Gary Sherrer, who has been Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of Commerce, and Chair of the Kansas Board of Regents. Sherrer had criticized the truthfulness of Kansas Policy Institute, claiming he "could write an essay" on his criticism of KPI. Upon my suggestion for him to do so, he offered two criticisms. First, Sherrer wrote this: "They count…
Read More
VIDEO: KPERS payments and Kansas schools

VIDEO: KPERS payments and Kansas schools

There is a claim that a recent change in the handling of KPERS payments falsely inflates school spending. The Kansas State Department of Education says otherwise. View below, or click here to view at YouTube. Click here for more about this topic.
Read More
Kansas government ‘hollowed-out’

Kansas government ‘hollowed-out’

Is Kansas government "hollowed-out" even though spending is rising? In the Wichita Eagle, Burdett Loomis writes: "In 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback and a far-right Kansas House of Representatives began to hollow out state government, all in the name of smaller, more efficient, more private administration."[1. Loomis, Burdett. Kansas is becoming a hollowed-out state. Wichita Eagle, July 9, 2016. Available at www.kansas.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article88555862.html.] Loomis doesn't define what he means by "hollow out" but the measure of the size of government is spending. Not taxation, but spending, because if government spends without taxing by the same amount, someone has to pay, eventually. Or,…
Read More
KPERS payments and Kansas schools

KPERS payments and Kansas schools

There is a claim that a recent change in the handling of KPERS payments falsely inflates school spending. The Kansas State Department of Education says otherwise. A member of the Kansas State Board of Education has written an article that has received widespread attention. But the member, Jim Porter, is wrong on several accounts. In his article, Porter stated that a recent change in the handling of Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) contributions falsely inflates school spending.[1. "Deception #2 – Until recently the state contribution to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System (KPERS) was sent directly to KPERS. Now…
Read More
Under Goossen, Left’s favorite expert, Kansas was admonished by Securities and Exchange Commission

Under Goossen, Left’s favorite expert, Kansas was admonished by Securities and Exchange Commission

The State of Kansas was ordered to take remedial action to correct material omissions in the state's financial statements prepared under the leadership of Duane Goossen. During the administration of Governor Mark Parkinson, the State of Kansas issued eight series of bonds raising $273 million. Regarding these, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has determined that the state failed to adequately inform investors of significant, material, negative information. In a nutshell, according to the SEC: The Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS) was in terrible financial condition compared to other states, and Kansas did not adequately disclose that to potential…
Read More
Lawrence school funding and employment

Lawrence school funding and employment

A Kansas school board president complains about funding, but the district has been able to grow employment faster than enrollment. A newspaper article features the Lawrence school board president complaining about school funding. (Advocates rally for school funding amid competing claims about cuts, March 14 Lawrence Journal World) There are competing claims. Some look at total spending. Others, as noted in the article, say analysis of spending must be nuanced by consideration of "special education, retirement fund contributions and aid for special budget funds such as bond and interest funds and capital outlay." The same article also notes: "But because…
Read More
In Kansas, teachers unions should stand for retention

In Kansas, teachers unions should stand for retention

A bill requiring teachers unions to stand for retention elections each year would be good for teachers, students, and taxpayers. The bill is SB 469, titled "Recertification of professional employees' organizations under the professional negotiations act." It would require that the Kansas Department of Labor hold an election each year in each school district regarding whether the current representation should continue. These elections, in effect, would be referendums on the teachers union, by the teachers. (Update: The bill has been revised to call for elections every third year.) That's a good thing. The teachers union monopoly ought to stand for…
Read More
Kansas transportation bonds economics worse than told

Kansas transportation bonds economics worse than told

The economic details of a semi-secret sale of bonds by the State of Kansas are worse than what's been reported. The late realization last year that the Kansas Department of Transportation had issued $400 million in long-term bonds -- largely under the radar -- has been met with appropriate levels of indignation by some editorial writers. An example is Dr. Edward Flentje who wrote: Right-wing Republican lawmakers have operated under the radar to suspend all statutory limits on highway debt, and that unprecedented authority was recently used to issue record-breaking levels of long-term debt to pay for their reckless income…
Read More
This is why we must eliminate defined-benefit public pensions

This is why we must eliminate defined-benefit public pensions

Actions considered by the Kansas Legislature demonstrate -- again -- that governments are not capable of managing defined-benefit pension plans. The Kansas Legislature is considering a bill that will allow Governor Sam Brownback to defer making payments to KPERS, the state's defined-benefit pension system for public employees. The deferred payments would be made up in future years, although there is really no mechanism to enforce this. Also, the bill considers eliminating the requirement that when the state sells surplus property, that 80 percent must be used to reduce the unfunded actuarial pension liability of KPERS. There is also a moratorium…
Read More