Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 15, 2018

Iowa must keep promises to retirees

Sep 08, 2017

Some legislators and state government officials have been talking about changes that could hurt the retirements 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 a proposal that shortchanges Iowans on their well-earned pensions. We must keep our promises to workers and retirees.

This is a legislative update from State Senator Kevin Kinney, representing Keokuk, Washington and Johnson counties. For bio, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/kinney.

To contact Senator Kinney when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise, he can be reached at 319-631-4667. E-mail him at kevin.kinney@legis.iowa.gov.

Senator Kinney is ranking member on the Agriculture Committee. He also serves on the Ethics, Judiciary and Natural Resources committees, as well as the Agriculture & Natural Resources Budget.

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