A voluntary retirement program for Kansas state government workers is expected to save $34.5 million over the next two years, Gov. Sam Brownback said last week.

“Reducing spending through this voluntary retirement incentive program is one method of helping the state live within its means,” according to Brownback, a Republican.

A total of 1,207 employees of the 4,000 who were eligible opted to take a one-time cash payment or up to five years of health insurance coverage.

The retired workers’ salaries total $42.7 million, but the actual savings will be lower due to insurance costs and the need to replace the 25% of the retired workers who left essential functions.

Dennis Taylor, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Administration, said the full affect of the reduction won’t be felt until fiscal 2013, which begins July 1.

“Once the annual cost of group health insurance and other expenses are factored in, the administration estimates the program will save $8.9 million in current fiscal year 2012 and $25.6 million in fiscal year 2013,” Taylor said.

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