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High Police And Fire Pension Rates Send Lawmakers Scrambling


A group of Arizona House lawmakers is launching an effort aimed at cutting the soaring costs of police and fire pensions.

The new committee announced by House Speaker J.D. Mesnard comes just over a year after 70 percent of voters approved changes to the state's public safety pension plan designed to return it to solvency in 20 years.

The voter approval and separate legislative overhauls couldn't address current pension plan costs because the state Constitution bans cuts to promised pensions. Instead they established less-expensive pensions for new hires and changed how current cost-of-living increases are calculated.

Employers have seen median contribution rates soar to about 52 percent of each officer's salary. Some cities are paying much higher rates.

Republican Rep. Noel Campbell of Prescott says some cities could go bankrupt without changes.

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