Arizona Voters Will Decide On Pension Reform With Proposition 124

Published: Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 4:06pm
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​We’ve been hearing all week about the pros and cons of the education initiative Proposition 123 that goes before Arizona voters this month.

But what about that the other item on the May 17 ballot? Proposition 124 deals with pension reform.

If it’s confusing,​ here’s a useful analogy​​ from Leonard Gilroy.

“You can sort of think of it as oil spill. The first thing you do in that situation is cap the spill and stop the problem from getting worse. And that’s what Prop 124 is aimed at doing,” he said.

Gilroy is a Fountain Hills resident and he’s the director of government reform at the nonprofit policy think-tank, Reason Foundation.

That oil spill is Arizona’s pension fund for police officers and firefighters. It’s less than half-funded and has been underfunded by nearly $7 billion over the past decade.

“That’s really the difficult part of cleaning up the spill after you’ve capped. Nothing in Prop 124 will immediately wipe away the $​6.6B ​in ​unfunded​ liabilities that the state has accrued," said Gilroy. "But over time, a package of reforms will basically do that.”

T​he key provision of this initiative, which came through the state Legislature and must also be approved by voters as per the state constitution, would be to cap cost of living increases into the fund at 2 percent.

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