House panel chairman promises no changes to state pensions

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Dist. 73), of Wilton (Courtesy:
Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Dist. 73), of Wilton (Courtesy:
Published: Jan. 22, 2019 at 3:01 PM CST
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The chairman of a House committee that would consider any changes to the public worker pension program says no legislation will pass this year or next that would change the system.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, chairman of the House State Government Committee, says Tuesday "simply unequivocally" there will not be any changes to the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System. The system covers state and local government workers and public school teachers. He says any groups saying otherwise are liars.

His intention is to squelch accusations by unions and other groups that have criticized Republicans for considering a plan to force future recipients into a self-saving retirement plan, similar to a 401k. A Senate Republican proposed change failed to advance last year. Others have talked about turning the program over to private management.

Democratic legislator Mary Mascher told Kaufmann that Democrats would hold him to his promise.

The group Progress Iowa has been raising concerns the pension program could be changed. Executive Director Matt Sinovic says the group will keep encouraging Iowans to stay informed and speak out.