The article details Mr. Jeffries' attempt to sell the PFFA reform plan, discussed in several recent posts, as a noble concession by Arizona's current firefighters to help PSPRS, and by extension, taxpayers and future firefighters. The article has errors*, and the writer does not seem to be very familiar with PSPRS or its recent travails. I am not sure how the New York Times got involved in this or why they found it newsworthy, but the Arizona Republic, which has done excellent reporting on PSPRS, would have certainly been more accurate and probably given the claims of Mr. Jeffries and others quoted in the article a little more scrutiny.
For me the key passage in the article is this:
To put the plan into effect, Mr. Jeffries wants to change the Constitution to allow for this one-time fix. This would reassure workers that lawmakers could not make even more drastic changes later.I do not know if the second sentence is a paraphrased quote from Mr. Jeffries or inferred from the desire to embed the PFFA reform plan in the Arizona Constitution. Either way, this statement rather boldly declares that the PFFA strategy is basically an end run around the Arizona legislature when it comes to PSPRS. It is arrogant enough for the PFFA to present a final reform plan to the legislature as if it was the perfect solution. It is another thing to go to the New York Times, hardly an Arizona-friendly paper, portray your organization as a protector of Arizona's taxpayers, and give the impression that you plan to treat the Arizona legislature as a non-entity in PSPRS reform.
As I detailed in recent post the PFFA reform proposal is no good. I do not know how involved the PFFA was in the drafting of SB 1609 three years ago, but their public position was that no reform was necessary at the time. Now they are all-in for reform but think that the legislature should just rubber-stamp their proposal, even though it is no improvement over the Arizona legislature's own bill, SB 1609. So what was Mr. Jeffries' goal in talking to the New York Times? I do not know, but if he thought a write-up in an elitist east coast paper would help PFFA's case, I think he is badly mistaken.
*PSPRS only takes half of any returns over 9% and places them in the COLA fund, and only part of SB 1609 was overturned, not the entire law.