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IPERS,Yes; Republicans, No

October 31, 2018
Emmetsburg News

Republicans have recently backtracked from their former statements, and now say they don't plan "current" changes to the Iowa Public Employee Retirement System (IPERS) for employees and retirees; even though the Koch backed Reason Foundation has been in Iowa examining IPERS financials for the purpose of replacing IPERS with a 401(k) program. One current state senator, Brad Zaun (R-Polk County), filed legislation (Senate File 45) last year to end IPERS for all new employees, and there is no reason to think this bill won't be reintroduced. This is a bad idea, because IPERS depends on continuing payroll deductions from all employees.

I am a retired employee of Iowa's Department of Human Services. As a retiree, IPERS is important to me and to all state, county, and municipal workers. IPERS payments total nearly 2 billion dollars annually, and most of that money stays in Iowa, boosting our economy. IPERS is well funded, is efficiently administered, exceeds actuarial benchmarks, and is considered one of the best retirement programs in the country.

Taking current or new employees out of IPERS would severely undermine the system and jeopardize retirement benefits for all public workers today and in the future. This would make it harder to retain and attract highly-qualified workers to the public sector. IPERS is a program proven to benefit all of Iowa. Other states have tried this, with very poor results.

Instead of weakening IPERS, policy makers should work on improving retirement security for all workers by protecting Social Security, helping employers set up pension programs, and providing incentives for more retirement savings, especially for low-wage workers and middle class families.

I support Iowa's workforce and taxpayers. If Republican lawmakers get a second bite at ripping into Iowa's retirement program, we all lose. When I vote, I support candidates who support IPERS.

Linda DeLaughter




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