State Capitol News
3:48 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

Top House Republican Proposes Scrapping State's Pension System for Elected Officials

Phoenix, AZ – State employees can retire at 80 percent of their highest pay.
But most need to work nearly 40 years before getting that
benefit. State and local elected officials, however, can leave at
80 percent after just 20 years. House Speaker Kirk Adams said all
of the state's four pension systems need to be revamped. But he
told members of the Arizona Chamber said it has to start with the
one for elected officials.

(Is it any surprise to anyone in this room that a pension program
for politicians designed by politicians would happen to be the
most generous of all?)

Adams said he will propose eliminating the program entirely. And
to show he's willing to put his mouth where his money in, Adams
said he has voluntarily withdrawn from the program. Adams already
has the support of incoming Senate President Russell Pearce. But
Senate Minority Leader David Schapira said he's not sure it makes
sense to take legislators out of the program.

(I'm interested to see his proposal. I mean, legislators work for
peanuts. $24,000 a year. If we retire as legislators you get
basically peanuts for retirement. So I'm not quite sure what he's
referring to.)

Any change would be prospective only, as the state constitution
bars lawmakers from taking away pension benefits that already
have vested. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.