Canceling IPERS won’t save money

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 25 2014 | 12:35 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:38 am in

After reading William Petroski’s Jan. 13 article, “Tax relief group calls for Iowa pension reform,” I can only comment, “Here we go again!”

Every year or so someone comes up with the brilliant idea that the state of Iowa can save money by canceling the IPERS retirement system.

IPERS is paid for by public employees, their employers and no one else. IPERS retirement benefits do not and have never been a part of the state budget. They are considered a part of otherwise rather low wages to attract competent public employees.

IPERS assets are carefully invested and, coupled with contributions by members, are completely funded for the next 30 years. The “unfunded” liability listed in the article is a guesstimate of expenses beyond 30 years.

Because of continued payments into the system and investments,

it highly unlikely that the Iowa taxpayer will ever be billed even one dime.

“Unfunded liability” is always mentioned as though it is fact rather than conjecture. The proposed changes to IPERS would strip public employees of dependable though modest retirement benefits. It would shift their savings into risky plans that may not even be available at retirement.

Unscrupulous business owners and some governments have raided their pension plans and done the very thing that is recommended by this article. This plan would undercut the ordinary employees with no positive benefit to the State of Iowa.

Should you have questions, please check out the IPERS website. I did, and I called for further clarification.

Patricia Brady

Keystone

 

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