Business & Labor Leaders Oppose Prop 106.
Todd Sanders, Britt London and Steve Beuerlein, opinion contributors
Phoenicians are being asked to vote on Proposition 106, which takes a reckless approach to a long-term pension obligation and turns it into a bill we would be forced to pay now.
The initiative would require the city to slash spending on all non-public safety programs including libraries, senior centers, parks and recreational programs in favor of funding the pensions of city employees, beginning with those of police and firefighters.
This poorly written proposal may purport to balance long term debt obligations, but the real result would be major cuts to municipal budgets devoted to our quality of life.
That’s just bad policy.
We have more to do. This ties our hands
The mayor and city council have already established a prudent plan to pay off the pension fund obligations over the next 20 years.
And as top business and public safety labor leaders in our community, we are proud of the progress the city of Phoenix has made in curbing future pension fund obligations, especially for new hires – requiring more employee contributions and limiting cost of living increases.
Certainly, more needs to be done to ensure these contractual obligations can continue to be met in future years. However, we are working together to address those very issues and don’t need out-of-state groups trying to tell our leaders what to do.
This-slash-and-burn idea is brought to you by interests who want to use Phoenix as an experiment in how to curb government spending. Our organizations have worked tirelessly with our elected leaders to promote fiscal discipline and smart budget practices which have resulted in excellent bond ratings and a growth in the Phoenix economy.
Prop. 106 would tie our elected leaders’ hands and put the city on a crash fiscal diet, which would jeopardize future economic growth at a time when our economy is booming – not to mention the very things that make Phoenix a great place to live and do business.
Why create litigation and uncertainty?
In addition to being fiscally imprudent, Prop. 106 is an invitation to years of costly litigation and economic uncertainty.
Provisions included in this risky experiment require elected leaders to reimburse pension fund costs, which impairs the existing contractual agreements. Courts have consistently ruled against these types of overreaching provisions, which have ended up costing taxpayers much more than they have ever saved.
Over the past decade, the mayor and council, with input from our organizations, have prudently managed the financial health of our city through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Pension funding is a long-term obligation that requires constant evaluation and vigilance. Gimmicks like Prop. 106 unnecessarily damage our ability to work together toward a better and brighter future.
As your business and labor leaders, we ask you to join us in rejecting this reckless experiment and join the mayor, a majority of the council and countless community organizations in opposing this experiment.
Protect Phoenix’s future by voting no on Proposition 106.
Todd Sanders is president of Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Britt London is president of Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and Steve Beuerlein is president of United Phoenix Fire Fighters.
Reach them at email@example.com, Office@AZPLEA.com, firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter, @phxchamber, @azplea, @unitedphxffs.