What the candidates had to say
How important a problem is the unfunded liability in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, and what would you do to solve it? Would you support Senate Bill 281 or something similar to it?
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Democrat:
"Problems with KPERS have been confronted and addressed constructively.
"We have taken two very important steps that, over time, should bring the KPERS system back into balance. We issued a $500 million pension obligation bond and agreed to an increase each year in the state employer contribution rate."
Sebelius added that any changes in future retirement plans for state employees would have to be reviewed as they come to her desk.
State Sen. Jim Barnett, Republican:
"During the primary campaign, this was an issue that I would raise voluntarily because no one else would discuss it. It must be addressed.
"It all comes back to the need for Kansas to start living within its means so we can begin to cut taxes to grow the economy. The long-term answer to this is growing the Kansas economy, not raising taxes."
Barnett said he would consider changes to the retirement age and a 401(k)-type benefit, but only for future employees.