Letter to the Editor: Concerns about SF 634 and its impact on IPERS

To the Editor:

IPERS is a defined benefit program that covers 350,000 Iowa public employees (teachers, school staff, law enforcement, road crews and hospital personnel to name a few.) Employees contribute 6% of their earnings, matched by 10% from their employers. IPERS is set up to be fiscally conservative so that it will remain financially healthy.

Governor Reynolds, Senator Breitbach, and Representatives Bergan and Osmundson promised to protect IPERS. Yet, in the late days of State session the Republican leadership, under the guise of property tax relief, slipped IPERS into SF 634 using Iowa Code numbers to disguise their lies. The bill was passed in the dark of night. There has been confusion about the impact SF 634 has on IPERS.

SF 634 takes away local control by city and county governments to manage their budgets. They may be forced to choose between providing services and providing employee benefits. The required 2/3 vote to increase property taxes above 2% gives more power to the minority party as it will be able to block tax increases, forcing a reduction in public employees. This will weaken IPERS over time.

Anti-tax groups like The Reason Foundation, Iowans for Tax Reform and the Koch Brothers want to eliminate IPERS and replace it with a 401K plan. If new employees were switched to 401Ks, it would destabilize IPERS for existing employees.

Public employees are the backbone of rural communities like Waukon, Postville and Lansing. They contribute millions to our local economy. Don’t be fooled by this bill.

Very sincerely,
Ann L. Hart
Waukon

 

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