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Maricopa County pays down pension liabilities

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(The Center Square) – Maricopa County is taking a victory lap for taking steps toward wiping out some pension debt in this year’s budget.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which is used for law enforcement when they retire, will have $500 million sent its way for “unfunded pension liabilities.” This came after a vote in which every member of the Board of Supervisors agreed to tackle the debt.

“This is a huge win for fiscal responsibility. 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,” Chairman Jack Sellers said in a statement last week. “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.”

However, the county noted that it opted for financing the debt pay down, saying it is allowable based on the state constitution and expects to pay it off quickly, according to a news release.

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

Government entities throughout the country, such as states like Illinois, face hurdles with pension debt in order to compensate public employees after their time of service has concluded.

The Center Square reported in May that the county is touting cutting property taxes once again, despite having to navigate potential impacts from the state’s budget deficit of $1.4 billion. Notably, the county said that the money from the federal American Rescue Plan Act has all been allocated, As for state government, the cut-filled budget was passed by the state legislature on Saturday night.

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