Iowans have every right to be concerned about their retirement security and the future of the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System under Gov. Kim Reynolds and Republican rule at the Statehouse.
First, when Reynolds took over as governor, she said making changes to IPERS was one of her top priorities. She told a group of Republicans at a fundraiser that IPERS “is not sustainable,” and she was looking for private companies who could set up a 401(k)-style plan instead. (Quad-City Times, Jan. 26, 2017)
Second, Republican lawmakers actually introduced a bill last year to end IPERS (Senate File 45). After that, Republican leaders twice invited an out-of-state think tank to testify against IPERS at the State Capitol.
Third, GOP House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, who feigned outrage in a column printed Tuesday in The Gazette, actually voted for a bill that created a 401(k)-style plan that would divert money from IPERS. (HSB 512, House State Government Committee Vote, March 2, 2006)
The governor’s comments, the Republican bill, and the speaker of the House voting to change the system aren’t fiction; they are facts. The Republican alternatives are real and would put the retirement of one out of 10 Iowans in jeopardy.
Considering the last two years, it’s no wonder Iowans are asking tough questions and are concerned about the future of IPERS under Republican one-party rule at the state Capitol.
Remember when Republican lawmakers said they were “tweaking” Iowa’s collective bargaining law? Instead, they gutted the law and stripped away the rights of teachers, public safety officials, and other state workers.
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Remember when Republican lawmakers said they were going to make health care more accessible? Instead, they closed down four health care clinics and allowed insurance companies to deny care to Iowans with pre-existing conditions.
Remember when Republican politicians said Medicaid privatization would save the state money and improve care? Instead, Medicaid costs are rising and Iowans are being denied services.
Iowans should beware of the talking points being used by Republican politicians these days.
The GOP’s own track record on IPERS tells Iowans the real story.
• Democrat Mark Smith of Marshalltown is minority leader of the Iowa House.