October 14th, 2020
KSN News Wichita | Grassroots group brings pension reform message to Kansas
Findings from TUA’s pension project on Wichita, Kansas, are featured in this story from KSN News Wichita.
WICHITA, Kansas (KSN) — A grassroots group took their message of pension reform to Wichita hoping to shock citizens into action by releasing some stunning figures showing their estimates of what some city employees will make during their retirements from government pensions.
“We do intend to sensationalize the numbers and we do intend to outrage taxpayers,” said Raeann McNeilly with Taxpayers United of America.
McNeilly and the organizations vice president, Christina Tobin, have been traveling the nation by car and stopping in cities like Wichita with their message of pension reform. They say it’s the top challenge facing states looking to balance their budgets.
“This is serious,” said Tobin. “This means these checks will stop coming if we don’t have real reform here in Kansas.”
Pension reform was a goal of the legislature this year in Topeka but efforts to reform KPERS have stalled.
They were also critical of Kansas officials for refusing to release the firm figures on pensions. Taxpayers United used salary figures from 2010 to estimate what city employees will make in pensions based on a life expectancy of 85.
“They release the pension numbers but not the names next to the pensions”, Tobin complained. “It’s the first state we’ve ever encountered like this.”
A spokesperson for City Hall says the numbers provided by Taxpayers United are “generally misleading, taken out of context and in some cases inaccurate”.