Iowa must keep promises to workers, retirees

Guest Column
Tod Bowman
Iowa State Senator, 29th Dist.

     Some legislators and state government officials have been talking about changes that could hurt the retirement of hundreds of thousands of Iowans.

     The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System–IPERS–is the largest public pension system in the state. It has more than 350,000 members, including state, city, county, school district employees, former public employees, and 114,000 retirees.

     IPERS is a “prefunded” system–contributions from employees and employers are pooled and invested. The average IPERS member retires after 22 years and earns an annual pension of $16,000.

     Major changes to IPERS are not needed. Industry experts consider it a healthy, secure plan with long-term returns coming in well above expectations.

     State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says major changes to IPERS could jeopardize the retirements of Iowans who spent their careers contributing to a pension they’re counting on.

     IPERS’ latest investment performance shows strong returns for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, including a significant increase over the previous year. More important, IPERS is doing well in the long-term.

     Changes to IPERS or any of Iowa’s public retirement programs must be approved by the Legislature. I will not support drastic changes that shortchange Iowans on their planned pensions. We must keep our promises to workers and retirees.


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