ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona Senate bill would appropriate $7.8M to hotshot pension fund

Jan 29, 2018, 10:06 AM

(AP Photo/Matt York)...

(AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Arizona state Sen. Karen Fann introduced a bill last week that would appropriate $7.8 million from the state general fund to the Prescott Fire Department to cover the costs of the hotshots’ pension fund.

The bill would offset the increased pension liability costs caused by the deaths of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots that died in 2013 while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire.

It was the greatest loss of firefighters in the country since the 9/11 attacks and one of the deadliest wildland fires for firefighters.

“God bless our wonderful 19, and we miss them,” Fann said Jan. 25, “but they were fighting a fire on State Trust land.”

According to The Daily Courier, Fann said that it is unfair to the taxpayers of Prescott to be solely responsible for the hotshots’ pensions when they were “protecting Arizona, and fighting a fire that was not even in Prescott.”

A previous bill, passed in 2013, allocated $5 million to the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System pensions and some families have previously been given full benefits through the system.

However, other families have won claims with the city for pension benefits and Fann said it will cost several million more to fully offset the pension costs.

The next step for the bill is to be read to the legislators and go to committee.

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Arizona Senate bill would appropriate $7.8M to hotshot pension fund