Today the Phoenix Pension Reform Committee turned in more than 54,000 signatures to place the Pension Reform Act on the ballot to fix Phoenix’s broken pension system.
“The outpouring of support from Phoenix residents wanting real pension reform has been tremendous,” said Scot Mussi, Executive Director of the Free Enterprise Club and Chairman of the pension reform committee. “The power brokers at City Hall have refused to fix our broken pension system, instead passing sham reforms thinking they can hide the problem from taxpayers. Voters are fed up with the games and deserve an opportunity to decide the issue for themselves.”
The City of Phoenix’s annual pension costs have increased by over 40% since 2011 and pension spiking will cost Phoenix taxpayers over $190 million. Currently, the pension system is only 56% funded with $1.5 billion in unfunded liability.
Citizens for Pension Reform Committee initiative will overhaul Phoenix’s broken employee-pension system and replace it with a 401(k) style retirement system for new city employees.
The initiative would also end the illegal practice of pension spiking, transition new city employees into a more sustainable and fair 401(k) style-defined contribution plan, allow existing employees to opt into the new defined contribution plan, protect taxpayers from ballooning pension costs, and take the issue away from elected officials and special interests.
The Phoenix Pension Reform Act will amend the Phoenix City Charter and will make significant changes to the way the pension system functions for new city employees hired after the initiative is approved by the voters and takes effect. The Phoenix Pension Reform Act does not affect current retirees or participants in the Public Safety Retirement System (police and fire fighters).
The group needed 25,480 valid signatures from registered Phoenix voters to qualify for the ballot. In an effort to make sure Citizens for Pension Reform Committee qualifies for the ballot, the Committee went the extra effort of twice verifying with the City of Phoenix’s own voter lists the validity of the signatures filed.
The City’s general obligation bond rating was downgraded late December 2013 by Standard and Poor’s from AAA to AA+.