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The benefits of KPERS, the US debt ceiling and immigration concern readers

KPERS retirees need benefit increases

I retired as a Kansas secondary educator in 2007 after 34 years in the language arts and Spanish classrooms at junior, senior, and community colleges. Now, 16 years later, I have not received ANY raise, not a cent, in my 12 yearly checks from the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System. The same is true for all Kansas state employees in Topeka and throughout Sunflower State, all former public school employees, law enforcement and firefighters. When I think of people older than me, I wonder if they struggle with personal finances as they grapple with the cost of daily living.

After my mother taught 49 years in state/public schools in Kansas, she was awarded a 13th annual cost-of-living allowance through KPERS. This stopped before my retirement and her death, and no cost of living increases were provided to thousands of retired government employees over 15 years ago.

The Kansas Legislature who “works” more than 90 days a year recommends an increase in the daily rate and expense allowance. Many have private jobs as well as serving in the Legislature and have served 10 years or less but, in all likelihood, will gratefully adopt and accept any raises they can vote for themselves. KPERS individuals do not have the same opportunity. We paid a percentage of our salaries towards our retirements when we worked and expected our pensions to benefit us in return for our jobs on behalf of Kansans.

I encourage the Kansas House and Senate to consider a reasonable rate to increase KPERS participants in their monthly payments or a thirteenth annual check to offset the cost of living for the past 15 or more years.

JoLene Rae BloomSeneca

The enemy is with us

Low- and middle-income citizens need to understand: Failure to raise the US debt ceiling will wreak havoc on your future financial security. 401k, 403b, IRA and other investment accounts can be completely drained. Republican Party members in the House will tell you that all they want to do is reduce the deficit. That might seem reasonable until you find out not only what they want to do to reduce that deficit, but also what they’ve already done to increase it.

Republicans like to give big tax cuts to the wealthiest among us. Those cuts raised the deficit more than any program designed to benefit ordinary Americans.

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

Low- and middle-income Kansanians (and all Americans) need to stand up for themselves and let their congressional representatives know they’re tired of big money buying their votes. Current Republican policies will only make most of us poorer.

Terry LarsonTopeka

Canada wants to increase its immigration levels

Canada’s immigration policy plans to increase immigration levels from 200,000 levels in the 1980s to over 400,000 levels this year and in the future. Texas and Florida are busing migrants to Cape Cod and New York because our borders are overloaded. Canada wants immigrants; I’m already on the bus heading north; Canada isn’t much further.

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

Bill StumpfTopeka

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