ARIZONA NEWS

Maricopa County votes to wipe out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement

Jun 17, 2024, 8:00 PM

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to wipe out all unfunded pension debt fo...

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to wipe out all unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees. (MCSO Photo)

(MCSO Photo)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to wipe out all unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees.

As a result, the county will pay down the remaining pension debt through financing because repayments are exempt from Arizona’s constitutional expenditure limitation.

The county said it expects a short repayment period and the move will cost taxpayers less than if no action had been taken.

“This is a huge win for fiscal responsibility,” Chairman Jack Sellers said in a press release. “While other governments are falling farther behind in funding these pensions, we are making sure these valued public servants get the retirement money they’ve earned.

“I applaud my colleagues on the Board for their commitment to this important issue and our Budget and Finance team for their expertise carrying out our Pension Funding Strategy.”

Why is Maricopa County wiping out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement employees?

The county said that employee pension plan costs have risen in the government sector in recent years, which has limited discretionary spending.

The board put $500 million into the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan beginning with the fiscal year 2023 budget as a result of low interest rates.

The new action will pay off the remaining pension debt.

“Paying off this pension debt is good governance and will lead to financial savings in the long run,” Vice Chairman Thomas Galvin said in the release. “It’s also a proactive step we can take to make sure our public safety heroes get the retirement they deserve.”

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Maricopa County votes to wipe out unfunded pension debt for retiring law enforcement