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Letter: Another lawmaker cloaks his vision with ideology

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I don't know where to start with state Rep. Dean Knudson of Hudson.

He's smart. I've met him on several occasions and corresponded through email.

Most recently he emailed saying he and his cohorts in Madison are studying the Wisconsin Retirement system to see how they can 'reform' it.

The WRS provides over half a million current and past state employees with a modest pension benefit. The money invested in the fund is well managed by a board that sees to it that much of the money is invested in Wisconsin businesses and projects.

The pensions are largely spent in the state by retirees and their families who've worked and lived in Wisconsin most if not all their lives.

This pension fund is as near fully funded as possible, considering the recent economic downturn.

Contributions are made out of every paycheck qualified state employees earn from Day 1 until they retire. It's about 10% of salary, half-matched by the employer.

The money in the fund is the result of those contributions, plus interest earned over time. Two-thirds of the fund's value is accrued interest.

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute issued an extensive report on the WRS a year ago. The results clearly show that the fund is well managed and highly successful.

It even shows the WRS significantly outperforms similar private sector funds, which leads the WPRI to a rather odd recommendation -- that is, to 'reform' the WRS to better match the lowering performing private funds.

It occurs to me that Rep. Knudson and his colleagues are unwilling to allow a state pension system to outperform anything in the private sector.

Once again, ideology trumps common sense.

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