The Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System, Des Moines, wants the state to raise both employer and employee contribution rates, said Donna Mueller, CEO of the $15.8 billion system. She said officials are seeking legislation that would gradually raise the employer rate to 8.15% and the employee rate to 5.3% from July 1, 2005, to July 1, 2008. The current rates — 5.75% for employers, 3.7% of an employee's covered wages — haven't changed since 1979, Ms. Mueller said.
"We are not going to ask employers to kick in more money," said state Sen. Mark Zieman, a member of the IPERS investment board. "Their budgets are in bad shape. … The only legislation I see being introduced is if employees want to increase their contributions to the fund."
Employers contributed $287 million to the pension fund in 2003, and employees, $185 million. The fund paid $736 million in benefits in 2003. The present value of liabilities is $22.1 billion.