Peek-A-Boo, Kansas Gov't Pensions-We See You!

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KANSAS – Taxpayers United of America has released the top pension estimates for Kansas government teachers and employees. “We are shedding light at last, on the problems with Kansas’ government pension system,” said Christina Tobin, Vice President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), and founder and President of Free and Equal Elections. “Minimal reform has occurred in Kansas as legislators consider measures that do little to actually solve the problem. Much more pressure is needed from taxpayers,” she said.
“Kansas’ government pension system desperately needs reform.  Releasing the specific names and pension amounts would show who’s really benefitting,” said Tobin. “But Kansas refuses to release actual individual pension payments and that really raises questions when estimates range to nearly $8 million. So, why won’t the Governor let Kansans see the facts?”
“There is no fair representation of taxpayers. This is a nationwide problem that burdens the Left and Right alike, and has fueled the financial crisis facing taxpayers and retirees. The urgency of this crisis is illustrated by the extensive press coverage that our government pension reports have received throughout Kansas.”
Tobin, who toured through Kansas towns revealing top government pension estimates to the public, received coverage from  KSN News Wichita, KWCH 12 Eyewitness News, Salina Journal News,, Wichita Business Journal, Kansas City Business Journal, and Fox 4 Kansas City.
TUA will be exploring all options to get the information still being withheld by the government bureaucrats of Kansas, released. “I have written letters to Governor Brownback and the members of the Kansas Legislature, asking for transparency.  As long as taxpayers feel the pain of the hefty bill for these pensions, those payments should be available for public review.”  Tobin plans to work with legislators but does not exclude the possibility of filing a lawsuit to obtain the information.
TUA will be revealing more States’ pensions across the nation, including those of Pennsylvania, New York, and Arizona in the coming weeks.

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”.

KWCH 12 Eyewitness News | Taxpayer group releases local officials' salaries and estimated pensions

Findings from TUA’s pension project on Wichita, Kansas, are featured in this story from KWCH 12 Eyewitness News.

(WICHITA, Kan.)—Wichita City Manager Robert Layton, Police Chief Norman Williams, and Fire Chief Ron Blackwell are a just a few of the city employees Taxpayers United of America use as examples.

The group, based in Chicago, was in Wichita Thursday to bring awareness to public pension funds.
It wants the current system changed so new public employees pay into a private retirement system and current employees pay more into the system which it says is unsustainable.
“We want all of the current employees to put more in…10 percent more.  If they don’t the system will collapse and they will get nothing,” says Christina Tobin with Taxpayers United of America.
The group lists the top 25 “estimated” pensions of city, county, and state employees.  It wants Kansas to release the actual pension amounts of current and retired employees.
“We’re here to shed a light on the need for transparency in Kansas.” says Tobin.
Tobin says the group can only estimate pensions based on the state formula and 2010 salaries.
“We’re here to urge Governor Brownback to release the pensions with the names.”
The group would not disclose its donors.
It says it names employees to get attention and admits the numbers are only estimates and are at the high end.
“If I don’t see the names with the numbers I can’t relate to what they meet. Yes, we do intend to sensationalize the numbers and we intend to outrage taxpayers.  It’s the outrage with taxpayers that’s going to cause them to contact legislators and bring about change,” Rae Ann McNeilly, director of outreach with Taxpayers United of America.
It says it wants to introduce legislation in Kansas to change the current formula, but says it’s still searching for a lawmaker to sponsor the bill.
Attached are links of public employee salaries and estimates by Taxpayers United.  The group says it did not attempt to contact any of the employees on the list.
Below are formulas used by the group to estimate pensions:
For non-police/fire
((2010 Gross x 0.6125) x (24 years)
For police and fire
((2010 Gross x .80) x (30 years)