Saturday, December 15, 2012

2013 Portents: More attacks on public employees

Yeah, I know this one is like predicting a sunny day in Phoenix..

Current Arizona Treasurer and rumored 2014 candidate for governor Doug Ducey sent out a press release in late November touting a new study that says that Arizona has underfunded its public employee pension funds by $13 billion. 

The study was put together by the Pew Center for the States, which is part of a "non-profit" organization founded by the children of the founder of Sunoco.  The organization, The Pew Charitable Trusts, was created to support and promulgate "free market" (read: "pro big-business") public policies.  They've toned down the overtness of their position in recent years, but it is basically the Goldwater Institute with even deeper pockets.

Basically, the "study" seems to be intended to provide cover for more GOP attacks on public employees and specifically, in this case, their pensions.

The first salvo in the latest attack is HB2006, introduced by Rep. Michelle Ugenti (R-Date with your Right Hand).

From the measure (blue-colored type indicates that the text is a proposed change to current law) -
Section 1. Section 38-711, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
START_STATUTE38-711. Definitions
In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
23. "Member":
(g) Does not include any employee of a political subdivision entity who is hired on or after the effective date of this amendment to this section.
Yes, that means that if the proposal becomes law, new public employees in Arizona at any level  won't be eligible for a pension.
I don't think that this will impact public safety employees or elected officials (of course).
Public safety employees and elected officials have their own pension systems (PSPRS and EORP, respectively) and this measure doesn't impact those folks.
New teachers and any other new public employees are screwed if this passes, though.

No comments: