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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - November 1, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Editorial Page Friday, November 1, 1974 Pension uniformity needed Invariably, when the Iowa legislature chooses to look the other way rather than to face realistically a problem crying out for attention, it runs into diffi- culty, That was what happened on the legislative reapportionment problem several years ago. The legislature thought that, by ig- noring it, the problem would go away. But it didn't. It stayed right there and got worse, until the citizenry went to the courts for relief. The result was a more bitter pill than legislators would have had to swallow had they resolved the problem themselves when they had the chance. Another problem that has been confronting the legislature for several years is the need to upgrade the Iowa Public Em- ployes Retirement System While it rates as one of the soundest, if not the soundest, devised by any of the states, it pays less than a vast majority of them. Legislators have known this for years. But they haven't moved in on it seriously. So the news that 18 public employe groups have joined forces to try to persuade the legislature it is time to act came as no surprise. The 18 groups have come up with five recommendations, including these: (1) Change the contribution formula so that the employing agency pays for every paid by the employe it's 50-50 today. (2) Remove the salary ceiling for con- tributions. (3) Use the highest five of the last 10 years of em- ployment for the average salary base to determine retirement benefits. (4) Increase the formula to provide a' 50 percent benefit after 30 years of service. (5) Provide present retirees with a monthly minimum benefit for each year of public service this money to come from the state's general fund. These recommendations, among others, are worthy of tho legislature's consideration. But before it makes a decision on IPERS, it wouUl do well to con- sider the possibility of legislating some uniformity into the state's five pension programs. It may come as a surprise that the state has a separate pen- sion plan for judges, for state po- lice officers including troopers, for local police officers and firemen and for university facul- ty members all in addition to IPERS, which covers a majority of public employes. Those employes covered by IPERS receive, at best, a retire- ment benefit that equals only 20 percent of their final salary. Those covered by the other plans' receive, at least, a retirement benefit that equals' 50 percent of their final salaries. That's a disparity that needs the prompt attention of the 1975 legislature. The people's forum Zoos' value cited To ihe Editor: Xoos are for people and Ihe people of the Cedar Rapids urea deserve a real- ly great zoo. In a period of history when there is such a loud outcry for conserva- tion in every sense of the word ener- gy, fuel, funds, and wildlife zoos offer the very best hope for the survival and preservation of much of our wildlife. However, people are the most im- portant ingredient in building a zoo. As a dedicated zoo person and a native lowan, I urge you most strongly and sincerely lo vole positively on the bond issue that will bring you whal you de- serve a great for Die state of Iowa. Did you know that adults outnumber children as zoo visitors by 3 to 1? Did you know that zoos attract more visitors from outside .the area than from within? Did you know that visitors lo the Pitts- burgh area spend an average of per day each? Support the Zoological Society in Cedar Rapids. You'll be glad you did. Meredith Wille. education director Pittsburgh Zoological Society Pittsburgh "fantasies." as Mr. liuiiserman claims, but facts. week on WMT's "Air Your Opinion" program, Uluuln challenged the authenticity of letters critical of him, saying that those which refer to specific "bills by number or
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