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Protecting and maintaining a strong retirement plan for our teachers, police officers, and nurses is vital for a strong economy in Iowa. Making sure the plan is working and secure is not only important for the members of the plan, but also provides $3.3 billion in economic output in Iowa.

A higher than assumed end of the year return rate was recently announced by the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS). The investments had a return rate of 8.35% for the previous fiscal year outperforming the assumed rate of 7%. The rate of return of 8.35% also surpassed last year’s rate of 7.97%.

The return on investments represents 70% of the payments of benefits made by IPERS. The payments are made by the IPERS trust fund, which can only be used for the sole benefit of IPERS members. In 2018, over 86% of retirement benefits made stayed in the state, and $1.8 billion was paid out to Iowans. Public retirement systems have total economic impact of $3.3 billion in the state of Iowa.

IPERS has approximately 360,000 members with a trust fund balance of over $30 billion. It should be the priority of the legislature to protect and strengthen these plans and to ensure that all Iowans have access to a strong, secure retirement.

State Park Volunteer Day Sept. 28

Join the annual statewide volunteer day at Iowa’s state parks on Sept. 28 at one of Iowa’s participating state parks. Hosted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 40 state parks will have projects ready for volunteers including picking up litter, painting, clearing trails, removing trees, planting trees, and building picnic tables. People of all ages are encouraged to participate.

Next year, in 2020, the DNR will be celebrating 100 years of Iowa state parks. This year’s volunteer day is in preparation of the celebratory anniversary.

To find a park near you to volunteer at, visit www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer.