A Republican leader in the Iowa House says public employees may have to pay more due to the financial problems in the state pension system known as IPERS. Representative Libby Jacobs of West Des Moines, the House Republican Whip, says the state pension system has suffered just like private pension plans due to the downturn in the stock market. Jacobs says assets are not only shrinking because of the stock market problems but because more state employees have retired early. Jacobs says lawmakers will wait for a recommendation from consultants and the board that runs IPERS. Jacobs says the Legislature traditionally examines the pension system in even-numbered years, but the 2004 Iowa Legislature will have to come up with a new prescription for fixing the problem. House Democrat Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says lawmakers can’t just do nothing and hope the stock market recovers. Murphy says it’s likely government employees will be asked to contribute more. Murphy says the state will continue to match employees’ contributions, but employees are going to have to “be involved” in fixing the system. Murphy and Jacobs made their comments on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.
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