Northwest Iowa (Radio Iowa) — Most city, county and state employees in Iowa depend upon the Iowa Public Employment Retirement System pension fund to finance their retirement years. Now, there is a shortfall in that pension fund that may be approaching $7-billion, which may affect pensions for northwest Iowa public employees.
Workers and lobbyists crowded a committee room at the statehouse Tuesday to hear the latest figures on the projected shortfall in the IPERS system. IPERS C-E-O Donna Mueller says for more than ten years workers were not putting enough money into the system and the alarm bells were ignored.
The shortfall is $5.6-billion, but analysts have lowered their expected investment returns, so the shortfall could reach $7-billion dollars. Mueller says the lower than needed contributions led to the problem.
Two recessions and longer life-spans have also contributed to the shortfall. Changes were adopted in 2010 to bolster the fund, but Mueller said improvement in the bottom line doesn’t happen overnight. Some Republicans have recommended revising IPERS in a way that public workers oppose.