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The Latest: GOP lawmakers rip Kelly plan on Kansas pensions

January 17, 2019

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Latest on Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget proposals (all times local):

11:28 a.m.

Republican lawmakers are strongly criticizing a proposal from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly to reduce the state’s annual payments to Kansas’ public pension system.

The plan is a key part of the budget proposals Kelly outlined Thursday for legislators. Kelly wants to increase spending on public schools, expand the state’s Medicaid program and boost spending on services and social workers to help troubled families.

A 2012 law committed the state to an aggressive schedule of increasing payments to pensions for teachers and government workers to close a long-term funding gap in the pension system by 2034. Kelly is proposing to revise the schedule so that the gap closes in 2049.

GOP lawmakers said the state will not only put off closing the gap but increase its overall long-term costs.

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9:38 a.m.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposed budget embraces a proposal to phase in a $364 million increase in funding for public schools over four years.

The Democratic governor also proposed Thursday to spend $14 million during the budget year beginning in July to expand the state’s Medicaid health coverage for the needy.

As Kelly outlined her budget proposals to legislators, she warned against pursing changes in tax laws. Income tax relief is a top priority for Republican leaders.

The education proposal is the State Board of Education’s plan for complying with a Kansas Supreme Court order last year.

Kelly proposed lowering annual payments to pensions for teachers and government workers. She also would take three years to end an ongoing diversion of highway funds to general government programs.

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