A special legislative committee in Kansas has recommended reconsidering two state pension reform bills next year that failed in the 2010 Legislature.

The Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Benefits said last week that lawmakers should take another look at HB 2400, which would increase the state's contribution to the pension plans, and at SB 564, which would require a higher contribution from workers.

The Kansas Public Employees Retirement System currently has a shortfall of $7.7 billion. HB 2400 would allow the state to increase its payments into the system each year by 1.6% of an employee's annual salary from the current allowable increase of 0.6% per year. Kansas currently bases its contribution on 8.17% of an employee's salary,

Government employees who were hired after July 1, 2009, pay 6% of their salary into the retirement system and earlier hires pay 4%. SB 564 would raise the workers' share by two percentage points for both groups.

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said the rate increases would generate an additional $57 million a year for the retirement system, which covers teachers, state employees, and local government workers.

KPERS has more than $12.5 billion of assets. About 75,000 retires receive benefits from the system.

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