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PRICE OF POLITICS, ETC: Time to Cut Pensions

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The state’s top two money men went back and forth on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” this morning. We did find one key agreement on Iowa’s money matters. Both State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat, and State Auditor Dave Vaudt, a Republican, agreed it’s time to bring back caps on pension payouts for state workers. So that would limit pensions for some higher-dollar earners. The pension fund is only 80% covered right now, according to Vaudt’s office. That compares to 98% funded in 2000. During that time, the stock market had one of those dreaded “corrections”, especially in 2008. That’s when the market lost 25% of its value. Lawmakers recently raised employee contributions to try to make up for some of the current $5.7 billion shortfall. But Vaudt said it’s time for lawmakers to contribute more money. 

Vaudt’s idea for lawmakers to put more money in the system may run counter to some of the talk we’ve heard from statehouse Republicans, who have pushed to use surplus state dollars for tax relief, particularly property tax reform. 

Iowa Press runs Friday night at 7:30pm.