Judge finds legislature violated contract with teachers and public workers

February 03, 2012

A judge has ruled in favor of teachers and others in the Arizona State Retirement System who were forced to pay a larger share of their pension plans.  The ruling means lawmakers will have to figure out how to re-adjust the system and pay back employees.  From Phoenix,  KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports.

There are more than 216,000 employees who contribute to the Arizona State Retirement system.  Last year, Republican lawmakers and Governor Brewer approved changing the employer – employee contribution.  It went from a 50/50 split to public employees paying three-percent more.

But Maricopa County Superior Court judge Eileen Willett ruled the change is a breach of contract and unconstitutional.  Sheri Van Horsen is president of the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

SHERI VAN HORSEN: We tried to talk to the legislators.  We tried to talk to the Governor.  We informed them that the voters put it in the constitution for a reason.  If they were going to proceed with this--it would probably end up in a lawsuit-- they would lose.  And how much more taxpayer money have we wasted on this issue.

The ruling means lawmakers will have to figure out how to reimburse members of the Arizona State Retirement System.

Read the ruling here

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