Iowa is fortunate to have a strong public pension system. The Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) provides pensions to teachers, firefighters, and other public employees throughout the Hawkeye State. In fact, one in ten Iowans is a member of IPERS. IPERS is funded at 84 percent, which is a healthy funding level. Despite all of its success at providing retirement security, IPERS is currently under attack by anti-pension forces in the Iowa legislature.
This all started in November 2016 when then-Governor Terry Branstad said he was open to possible changes to IPERS. Currently the Iowa legislature is undertaking an official review of IPERS. The Reason Foundation, a noted anti-pension organization funded by John Arnold, has offered to conduct an analysis of Iowa’s public pensions for the legislature. Reason’s “analysis” will almost certainly call for major changes to IPERS. Reason recently assisted Republican legislators in Michigan in their move to undermine the pension system for public school employees. Following a similar playbook in Iowa would be devastating for working families there