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Overhauling Arizona pensions is ‘unconstitutional’

PHOENIX — A Maricopa County Superior Court has ruled legislation that
would overhaul Arizona’s pension system is unconstitutional.

The Arizona Republic reported Judge John Buttrick said in
a ruling last week lawmakers violated the state Constitution when they passed a
bill that would halt pension raises for elected officials and judges.

Several judges and officials sued the state, saying the Constitution states
public retirement benefits cannot be “diminished or impaired.”

Retired Judge Kenneth Fields, who led the lawsuit’s filing, said the state
would have been breaking a binding contract.

The bill’s supporters said stopping the increases was needed to protect the
state pension fund’s finances.

A spokesman for the state’s public retirement system said the agency has not
decided if it will appeal the ruling.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com