Readers address concerns with KPERS benefits, U.S. debt ceiling and immigration

KPERS retirees need raises in benefits

I retired as a Kansas secondary educator in 2007 after 34 years in junior, senior and community college language arts and Spanish classrooms. Now, 16 years later, I have received NO increase — not one penny — in my annual 12 checks from the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The same goes for all state of Kansas employees in Topeka and across the Sunflower State, all former public school employees, law enforcement and firefighters. When I think of individuals older than myself, I wonder if they struggle with personal finances as they face daily living costs.

After my mother had taught for 49 years in Kansas country/public schools, she was entitled through KPERS an annual 13th check to allow for a cost of living rate. That stopped prior to my retirement and her death, and no increase for the cost of living has been provided to thousands of retired state employees for over 15 years.

The Kansas Legislature that “works” 90-plus days a year is recommending a raise in their daily rate and expenses compensation. Many have private jobs besides serving in the Legislature and have served 10 or less years, but will, in all likelihood, gratefully adopt and take any increase that they can vote for themselves. KPERS individuals do not have that same opportunity. We paid a percentage of our salaries toward our retirements when we worked and expected to have our pensions benefit us in exchange for our jobs on behalf of Kansans.

I encourage the Kansas House and Senate to consider a reasonable rate for increasing KPERS participants in their monthly payments or a 13th check yearly to compensate for the cost of living for the past 15 or more years.

JoLene Rae Bloom, Seneca

The enemy is with us

Middle and lower-income citizens need to understand: Failure to raise the U.S. debt ceiling will devastate your future financial security. 401k, 403b, IRA and other investment accounts may be totally emptied. Members of the House Republican Party will tell you that all they want to do is reduce the deficit. That might sound reasonable until you find out not only what they want to do to reduce that deficit, but what they have already done to increase that deficit.

Republicans like giving big tax cuts to the wealthiest among us. Those cuts have added to the deficit more than any programs designed for the benefit of ordinary Americans.

Republicans don’t seem to like the idea of reinstating prior tax rates for the wealthy. Instead, they want to cut Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits.

Middle- and lower-income Kansans (and all Americans) need to stand up for themselves and let their representatives in Congress know that they are tired of big money buying their votes. Present day Republican policies will only make most of us poorer.

Terry Larson, Topeka

Canada wants to increase its immigration levels

Canada immigration policy plans to increase immigration levels from 200,000 levels in the 1980s to over 400,000 levels this year and going forward. Texas and Florida are busing migrants to Cape Cod and New York because our borders are overloaded. Canada wants the immigrants; they are already being bused North; Canada is not that much farther.

Canada wants people to fill available jobs, which will decrease unemployment, lower wage inflation, which should reduce interest rates and improve the economy. Looks like a win-win-win-win situation is available for some legislators willing to work together.

Bill Stumpff, Topeka

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: KPERS benefits, U.S. debt ceiling and immigration concern readers