Debate sparked over Iowa public pensions

FILE PHOTO - Governor Terry Branstad at his weekly news conference
FILE PHOTO - Governor Terry Branstad at his weekly news conference

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s open to discussing changes in public employee pension plans, sparking a discussion about whether a switch to a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k), would meet worker needs and better protect taxpayers.

Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald tells The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2gSabaF ) public employees in the state should be concerned about the potential to do away with the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, also known as IPERS. The system has 350,000 members.

Fitzgerald says the problem with defined contribution plans proposed by some lawmakers and organizations is that they place the financial risk on employees who are stuck with high fees for investments.

The Iowa Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, Iowans for Tax Relief and the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant have endorsed shifting IPERS to a defined contribution plan.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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