Among the several ballot propositions going before voters next week is Proposition 487.  There has been heated debate surrounding Prop-487 that asks voters to decide if new municipal employees will be forced into 401K-defined contribution retirement plans rather than

the current traditional defined benefit pension.  Mayor Greg Stanton opposes 487, saying it would be incredibly expensive to the city.  He says “we’re not going to give massive pay cuts across the board to city employees – so by adding a 401K, plus the unfunded liability, if you add it all up, it will cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars.”  Vice Mayor Jim Waring supports Prop-487, saying that traditional pensions are just too costly and keeping them could eventually bankrupts Phoenix.  He says “we’re changing to a more fiscally solvent system, a money saving system…we’re talking hundreds of millions dollars over decades.” 

 
Waring notes that the changes would not apply to current employees or police and firefighters. However, Stanton says that’s simply not true, claiming emergency services personnel would be affected if voters say “yes” to Prop-487.
 
Stanton adds that prop 487 is written in a way that would seem to protect emergency services personnel, but it really doesn’t because the “initiative says in the preamble that it doesn’t affect police and firemen, but in the actual language of the initiative – that which would be in the charter itself and the charter is like the city constitution – that’s what would bar the city from donating to police officer and firefighter pensions.”
 
Waring says the state is going to spending “more and more money on pension issues for employees that are already retired and less and less on the actual services to be provided today.”
 
Stanton says the real issue here is that 487 is a “poorly written, fatally flawed ballot proposition and its supports should just do the right thing and admit it,” but instead “they are burying their head in the sand hoping that a federal judge is going to interpret the initiative differently than they way they drafted it.”  Stanton slams the supporters of Prop 487 saying “that’s not the way we display leadership in our city.”
 
The General Election is Tuesday, November 4.

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