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Was it constitutional for Proposition 124 to replace PSPRS' permanent benefit increases with a capped 2% COLA?

In this blog I and multiple commenters have broached the subject of the suspect constitutionality of PSPRS' replacement of the old perma...

Monday, December 28, 2015

A little bit more on PSPRS pension reform before the end of the year

While I was hoping there would be more definitive information available this month, it looks like we will have to wait until January 2016 to find out what the Arizona Legislature has in mind for PSPRS.  However, there were two brief blurbs on Phoenix news radio station 550 KFYI website that give us a smattering of news.  The first gives us an update on the progress of the plan and when we may see it:
(KFYI News/AP) - An overhaul plan for Arizona's public-safety pension plan is almost done.
State Senator Debbie Lesko of Peoria says a deal is close after months of meetings between lawmakers, pension officials, and others. She says the deal may even be ready in January.
A recent report found the system can only pay half its promised pensions, although contribution rates have soared.
The second gives us more clues about what might be in it and when it will appear on the ballot:
(KFYI News) – Arizona voters may see a second ballot measure in the May 17 special election.
Voters will already have their say on Proposition 123, a referendum to amend the Arizona constitution to allow increased withdrawals from the state's land trust fund to boost funding for K-12 education.
The Arizona Capitol Times reports lawmakers may add a referendum on amending the state constitution to change how the state's pension system for police and firefighters is funded.  As it stands now, the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS) is severely underfunded. 
Under the proposal, which is reportedly very close to agreement between legislative leaders and union representatives, benefit levels for public safety employees would be capped, and a 401(k) type of component would be added, where enrollees would have to save some of their own money on top of the pension contribution.
If approved, the changes would affect both new employees and existing public safety employees statewide.  The changes would have to be OK'd by voters because under the state constitution, retirement benefits for existing government employees cannot be changed by the legislature.
This 550 KFYI story references an Arizona Capitol Times story, which unfortunately is behind a paywall.  Not much to go on, but it does look like things will move fast once we get into 2016.  Have a safe and happy New Year.

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