Evaluation of Kansas state website
- 1 Website evaluation
- 2 U.S. PIRG rating
- 3 State Integrity Investigation
- 4 KansasOpenGov
- 5 Voters
- 6 Transparency Legislation
- 7 Resources
- 8 Salaries
- 9 Pensions
- 10 Public Records
- 11 External links
- 12 References
- See also: Evaluation of state websites
This website was reviewed on January 15, 2012.
- The site has a search function, but it is difficult to find documents like the budget and audits.
- Elected officials are listed with contact information.
- A state directory is posted with contact information for state employees.
- The state has a transparency website and links to an KansasOpenGov, an outside organization's transparency site.
- The current budget is posted.
- The current audit is posted.
- Bid opportunities are posted, along with awarded contracts.
- Ethics information is posted, with lobbyist information available.
- Information is available on how to make public records requests.
- Tax information is posted.
- Prior years' budgets are not available.
- State data and documents can be difficult to find.
- No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
- Contacts and forms for public records requests are not gathered in an easily accessible place.
U.S. PIRG rating
The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.
|Checkbook-level website||30||Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.|
|Search by vendor||8||Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.|
|Search by keyword of activity||8||Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.|
|Search by agency or departments||8||Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.|
|Contract or summary information||10||A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.|
|Historical expenditures||5||Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.|
|Grants and economic development incentives information||10||Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.|
|Downloadable||3||Information can be downloaded for data analysis.|
|Tax expenditure reports||10||The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.|
|Off-budget agencies||2||Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.|
|City and county budgets||2||Financial information for some local governments is accessible.|
|ARRA Funding||2||A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.|
|Feedback||2||Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.|
There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.
Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.
State Integrity Investigation
The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.
Kansas received an overall grade of C, or 75%. It ranked 9 out of the 50 states.
|Public Access to Information||C|
|State Budget Processes||B|
|State Civil Service Management||C+|
|State Pension Fund Management||B|
|Ethics Enforcement Agencies||D+|
|State Insurance Commissions||F|
The Kansas Policy Institute has created KansasOpenGov, an official transparency website that draws information from official government sources. The site contains the state checkbook, payroll register, education spending, and property tax information. The site functions independently from the official state website.
State voter registration data shows that over 130,000 voters, or 8 percent, of Kansas' 1.7 million voters are registered as "inactive" due to not voting recently or having an invalid mailing address. Six counties showed more registered voters then the last collected census data. The counties were: Smith, Graham, Cherokee, Rawlins, and Nemaha.
In 2010, there were also 14 cases of the deceased voting.
- See also: Kansas transparency legislation
|Governmental Ethics Board||State||Lobbying and campaign finance||2011||http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/Campaign_Finance/Campaign_Contributor_Data/index.html|
|Kansas Legislative Research Department||State||Appropriations Reports||2011||http://www.kslegresearch.org/klrd.html|
|KanView||State||Expenditures, revenues, agency budgets||2011||http://www.kansas.gov/KanView/|
|Procurement Contract List||State||Contracts||2011||http://da.ks.gov/purch/Contracts/|
|Follow the Money||National Institute on Money in Politics||Campaign contributions||2010||http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=KS|
|KansasOpenGov||Kansas Policy Institute||Spending, contracts, school data||2012||http://kansasopengov.org/|
- See also: Kansas state government salary
State and Local Employees
According to 2008 Census data, the state of Kansas and local governments in the state employed a total of 241,713 people. Of those employees, 172,212 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $584,592,296 per month and 69,501 were part-time employees paid $55,185,557 per month. Nearly 60% of those employees, or 144,587 employees, were in education or higher education.
State Employee Benefits
The state of Kansas provides its employees with many benefits. To qualify for benefits, an employee must be in a permanent position and work more than 1,000 hours per year.
Paid Time Off
Vacation The maximum vacation accrual earned each payroll period and the maximum vacation leave balance that may be accumulated are as follows:
|Length of Service||Maximum Biweekly
Vacation Accrual Per Payroll Period
|Less than 5 years||3.7 hours||144 hours|
|10 years and less than 15 years||5.6 hours||208 hours|
|15 years and over||6.5 hours||240 hours|
At the end of the last payroll period paid in each fiscal year, up to 40 hours of any accrued vacation leave that exceeds an employee’s maximum accumulation of hours shall be converted to sick leave, and any time over that is forfeited.
Holidays Holidays for the State service include:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Day
- Memorial Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- the Friday following Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
Sick Leave Eligible full-time employees’ sick leave accrues at a maximum rate of 3.7 hours per biweekly payroll period. Eligible non-exempt employees are in pay status less than 80 hours in a biweekly payroll period will accrue sick leave based on a prorated schedule.
Health Employees have a 60 day waiting period between first date of employment and when they are eligible for health benefits.
Employees may choose from several medical plans including HMO, PPO and Qualified High Deductible Health Plan options. Enrollment in the Qualified High Deductible Health Plan also requires enrollment in a Health Savings Account (HSA). Prescription drug coverage is provided for all employees/participants enrolled in any State of Kansas medical plan.
For full time employees, the State of Kansas generally contributes 95% of the cost of single Health Plan coverage and 45% of the additional cost for dependent coverage. The amount contributed by the agency for part time employees is generally 75% of the amount contributed for full time employees. Kansas state government employees pay six percent of the cost of their health care versus private sector plans which usually ask employees to cover on average 23 percent of the costs.
Dental Dental coverage is only available for employees/participants enrolled in medical coverage.
Vision Employees may enroll in the vision coverage level of their choice regardless of their medical or dental insurance enrollment.
Life All benefits-eligible state employees have group life insurance coverage. The state pays the entire cost of the coverage. The group life insurance coverage provides an insured death benefit, which is currently 150% of the employee's annual rate of compensation. All benefits-eligible employees may elect to purchase optional group life insurance coverage through additional payroll deductions.
All benefits-eligible state employees have long-term disability insurance coverage paid for fully by the state.
KanElect allows the employee to pay for Health Plan premiums, non-reimbursed health care expenses, and dependent daycare expenses with pretax dollars. There are three benefit plans under KanElect:
- Pretax Premium Option - allows the employee to pay for the cost of (the State of Kansas) Health Plan premiums with pretax or after-tax dollars.
- Healthcare Flexible Spending Account - allows the employee to use pretax dollars to pay health care expenses allowed by the IRS but not reimbursed by medical, dental, prescription drug or vision insurance.
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account - allows the employee to use pretax dollars to pay for work related daycare expenses.
- See also: Kansas public pensions]]
A recent study by economists Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business concluded that the Kansas pension fund will run out of money in 2021. Should the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System funds run out of money then, the cost the following year would be $2.5 billion, which would be 23% of state revenue.
The state's pension liabilities can be calculated in a variety of ways, which yield different numbers. Below are the numbers as calculated by to the Pew Center on the States, the American Enterprise Institute and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Other information from the Pew Center on the States Feb. 2010 publication "The Trillion Dollar Gap":
|Latest liability||Latest unfunded liability||Annual required contribution||Latest actual contribution|
|Latest liability||Latest unfunded liability||Annual required contribution||Latest actual contribution|
|Number of pension plans||Pension assets ($bn)||Stated liabilities ($bn)||Funding status (% of tax revenue)|
Rate of Return
Kansas presumes an 8.00% return rate on its pension investments.
See also: Kansas sunshine lawsuits
The Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Kansas. Statutes 45-215 - 45-223 passed by the Kansas legislature define the law.
The Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Statutes 75-4317 - 75-4320 define the law.
To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Kansas FOIA procedures.
- Kansas.gov, "Elected Officials," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "E-mail Directory," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "KanView," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Budget," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Financial Reporting," accessed January 15, 2012
- Bids," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Contracts," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Ethics," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Open Records Brochure," accessed January 15, 2012
- Kansas.gov, "Taxes," accessed January 15, 2012
- US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
- "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
- Kansas Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
- Kansas Watchdog, Kansas has almost 138,000 inactive voters, Oct. 25, 2010
- Kansas Watchdog, Six Kansas counties have more voters than census voting population, Oct. 26, 2010
- Kansas Watchdog, Dead voters in Kansas?, Oct. 29, 2010
- 2008 Kansas Public Employment U.S. Census Data
- Active State Employees Benefit Guide
- Kansas Watchdog, Kansas State Employees Get Discount Healthcare, Sept. 9, 2010
- New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
- Yahoo! Finance “11 state Pension Funds That May Run Out of Money Oct. 18, 2010
- "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
- Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
- Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
- Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
- Northwestern University, The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010