Pension reform is up to us

Glenn Hamer

February 26, 2016

Friends,

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports Proposition 124, a very important and welcome reform to our state’s Public Safety Personnel Retirement System. As you’ve read in previous columns, state Sen. Debbie Lesko deserves tremendous credit for getting this bill to the finish line. To realize the full reform, however, we must pass Proposition 124, which will appear on the May 17 special election ballot.

Below you’ll find the Chamber’s argument in favor of passage of the measure, which will appear in the election publicity pamphlet.

Glenn 

Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges “yes” vote on Proposition 124

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry strongly urges you to vote yes on Proposition 124. We believe the measure represents the best opportunity to preserve critical public safety services while protecting taxpayers.

Arizona’s public safety pension system has been unable to keep pace with liability growth. A creaking public pension system that cannot keep up with growing obligations will begin to crowd out core government functions as more and more taxpayer dollars are shifted to pension liabilities, while raises, hiring and equipment upgrades will become extremely difficult.

Unless we act, we will be faced with two bad options: Either severely cut services, or dramatically raise taxes.

Fortunately, thanks to state Sen. Debbie Lesko and her colleagues in the state Legislature, Gov. Doug Ducey, representatives of public safety employees, local government leaders and the Reason Foundation, a respected think tank, legislation has been signed into law that takes a major step toward stemming the growth in unfunded liabilities. The reform package is a game changer.

The last step, however, is up to us. We must pass Proposition 124 to amend the state Constitution in order to alter the pension system’s future benefit increases. 

If we want to ensure that our police officers and firefighters have retirement benefits they can count on in the future while protecting taxpayer dollars, then serious reforms are needed now. It is for these reasons that the Arizona Chamber urges you to vote yes on Proposition 124.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce