Letter to the Editor

IPERS

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What are the governor and the GOP Legislature not going to do to IPERS and all Iowa’s public servants this year?

2016: Gov. Kim Reynolds said IPERS is secure, strong, sustainable, efficiently managed, creates jobs and is an economic engine for Iowa. Then at a private fund raiser she says she wants to privatize it.

2017: Nothing was said about Collective Bargaining in the 2016 election campaign. Then in the general session they said they would tweak Collective Bargaining. Then they gutted a 45-year-old plan (started by GOP Gov. Robert Ray) that worked well.

They said there are no plans to make any changes to IPERS. Then Reynolds has Sen. Charles Schneider hire the Koch Brothers funded anti-pension Reason Foundation to study IPERS!

2018: The GOP again said no changes to IPERS. GOP Sen. Brad Zaun introduced a bill (SF45) to eliminate IPERS.

2019: The governor, speaker of the House and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann said “no IPERS changes to present or future IPERS employees,” and according to Kaufmann, not even punctuation changes. Then they put IPERS in a property tax bill in the middle of the night. When called out on it, they said it didn’t effect IPERS, but it does. The Dems asked for an amendment to take IPERS out of the bill and the GOP refused, but no changes to IPERS is what the GOP said! If there was no effect, why is it in the bill? Duh!

Then the GOP says that public employees are fear mongering and are demagogues when bringing up the fact that the GOP will propose changes to one of the best defined benefit systems in the country that has worked well for over 65 years. Every year they say no changes. Every year there are changes or proposed changes. Quit trying to fix something that isn’t broken and leave the tweaks to the expert actuaries.

As some state and county employers told me; “we have trouble getting quality people for our positions. The only thing that saves us and gets us quality people is IPERS.”

Now U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley is trying to push a multi-employer pension plan bill that many union officials say would hurt unions and pensions nationwide, especially well funded ones like IPERS.

So governor and GOP Legislature; what aren’t you going to do to IPERS and public employee pensions this session?

— John Brostad, Storm Lake