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House Committee Chair Pledges No Changes To IPERS

bobby kaufmann
Joyce Russell/IPR file
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Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton

A Republican representative who chairs the House State Government Committee said Tuesday there will be no changes to the retirement benefits system for Iowa’s public employees, or IPERS, in the next two years.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, made the announcement in response to what he called “scare tactics” from some groups warning of imminent changes to IPERS.

“No bill becomes law without coming through the Iowa House,” Kaufmann said. “And so it is unequivocal and absolute that after today, any group that sends out the email scaring our constituents, I’m going to publicly call you a liar.”

Kaufmann listed some Democratic-aligned groups and some unions as those that have been “inventing demons to slay.”

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds has previously said she wants the state to honor commitments that have already been made, but she didn’t rule out changes for future employees.

A bill was filed in the Iowa Senate in 2017 to change plans for new employees, but it did not advance.

Kaufmann said this does not add up to the Republican party trying to change IPERS.

Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said she appreciates Kaufmann’s statement, but the fear of IPERS changes comes from trust issues. Mascher noted Republican lawmakers greatly limited public employees’ collective bargaining rights in 2017 after saying they would just tweak the law.

“And so I hope we can trust this word and that there will not be changes that gut the system that we have today,” Mascher said.