Two Democrats are accusing Republicans of planning a major change for Iowa public employees’ retirement benefits next year, but the governor and GOP lawmakers say they have no plans to do so.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has talked about enrolling new state workers in a 401k-style plan rather than the state pension system, but her spokeswoman says the governor will not ask lawmakers to make that switch.
Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, says Republicans “gutted” the state’s collecting bargaining law “in 10 short days” this past February and he warns public workers’ pensions may be “dismantled” just as quickly next year.
“To all Iowans: be alert. Be ready to speak up loudly if legislation to harm Iowa’s financially sound, high-quality public retirement program comes up for debate.”
McCoy serves as a non-voting member of the board of directors for the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System, called IPERS. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says one out of every 10 Iowans are depending on an IPERS pension either now or in the future.
“It’s one of the best pension systems in the country,” Fitzgerald says. “But, there’s still people like the Koch brothers and some leaders in the Republican Party want to change it.”
Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, is sponsoring a bill that would switch state employees hired after July 1, 2019 to a 401k system. However, his bill did not advance in the 2017 legislature and the chairman of a key senate committee says he has no plans to see the bill debated in 2018.