Calling all Wichitans! Want to pay higher sales taxes to fund, amongst other things, street paving and bus transit? Learn more about the proposal this Thursday at WSU Metroplex. Free and open to the public. Please register here:

Moving Wichitans in the Future: Paving and Transit Via Sales Tax?
A review of the paving and transit portions of the proposed 1% sales tax in the City of Wichita.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 20:30:40 +0000
Is a new tax in City of Wichita- Government the right way to maintain streets and provide bus transit? What are some other possible solutions to the problem? 23 October event to learn more. RSVP in first comment.

KPI to host forum on transit and street maintenance components of sales tax referendum
The Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative Wichita nonprofit organization, is hosting its final community forum on the components of the upcoming sales tax referendum.
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:13:54 +0000
How will the upcoming elections impact Freedom in America and Kansas? Hear Scott Rasmussen's thoughts and predictions at the KPI annual dinner on October 28 in Wichita. Register today at

2014 Elections and America's Future
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:47:50 +0000
Last Refreshed 10/30/2014 6:01:04 AM
Significant reform needed in KPERS

The newly formed Kansas Public Employees Retirement System Study Commission faces a daunting task. The most recent valuation report reveals unfunded liabilities have increased to $8.3 billion and the funding ratio fell to 62 percent, placing KPERS amongst the country’s most underfunded plans.

Still, the liability is actually much worse than reported, perhaps as high as $15 billion. KPERS assumes an 8 percent annual return on investments and acknowledges that may be optimistic. Financial experts argue government pension plans should estimate liabilities like private sector plans and use a rate that reflects the market risk inherent in those liabilities.

A recent study by finance professors from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University estimates state pension liabilities using real Treasury yields to calculate the funding required to pay off liabilities over 30 years. Their study puts the price of not reforming KPERS at either an 11.7 percent tax increase, an 11.7 percent funding reduction for schools, social services and other government functions or some combination of the two.

Clearly, major reform is needed.

Many options exist to reduce benefits and still provide a more lucrative retirement plan than most taxpayers receive. The current defined benefit plan allows someone with 35 years’ service and final average salary of $50,000 to retire with about the same take-home pay, including Social Security. A defined contribution 401(k) plan should be created for new hires. Benefits for those still working can be modified, the early retirement age can be increased and other oddities can be eliminated, such as “double-dipping,” buying discounted service credits and the special treatment afforded legislators.

Kansas is already suffering economic stagnation and job loss from a growing tax burden. Indeed, Kansas is the only state whose 2011 average annual private sector employment level is lower than 2010. State and local taxes increased at nearly twice the level of inflation over the past 10 years, and that doesn’t include the full impact of the sales tax increase. There simply is no room for another straw on the camel’s back.

Another year like 2008 would create a high probability that underfunded pension plans such as KPERS will eventually default on their obligations.

Political pressure to protect these lucrative, unsustainable benefits will be intense, but the choice is crystal clear — enact major pension reform or pick between double-digit funding cuts or job-killing tax increases.

With all of this in mind, we hope the KPERS Study Commission chooses wisely.

View full article at The Topeka Capital Journal. Click here
View full article at The Hays Daily News. Click here