Arizona Petition Could Affect Public Employee Pensions

September 10, 2013

A new Arizona petition drive could mean some major changes in pensions for public employees.  Republican Party activist Roy Miller is worried about what happened in Detroit, happening here.  His initiative would prohibit cities, counties and school districts from spending increases that exceed inflation and population growth, unless they've adequately funded their pension systems.  But, the state retirement system did just that at several points in June of 2012. Spokesman David Cannella says the numbers are still in the works for the just-ended budget year.

“We'll have this year's numbers fairly soon,” Cannella said. “We closed the books recently, obviously. And now they're doing the calculations. It'll probably be right about there, maybe a little bit lower.”

Cannella says the system does not expect to be underfunded until at least 2021. Miller's initiative would also eliminate pensions entirely for future elected officials. He has until July 3 to collect 172,800 or more, valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot next year.

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