The largest pension system in Arizona funds a safe and secure retirement for employees of state agencies, public schools and universities, county employees and many city employees around the state. For the more than half a million active members and an additional 120,000 retirees of the system, their pension comes with the knowledge that they will receive a modest retirement benefit that will keep them from retiring into poverty. The average benefit is $1,700 a month.
In the last few years, the leadership of Arizona State University has begun an effort to move faculty and staff out of the ASRS and into 401(k)-style accounts.
We’ve heard this story before. Voters in Phoenix overwhelmingly rejected an effort to move workers out of the pension system.
Moving employees out of the ASRS and permanently into 401(k)-style accounts means that those workers and their families will retire with significantly lower benefits. At the same time, moving workers out of ASRS could destabilize the whole system. By removing members from ASRS, the unfunded liability will balloon – meaning taxpayers or ASRS members will be left with the tab.
Now, ASRS retirees, active public workers, and allies are banding together to spread the truth about the ASRS and to protect the pensions of hard working teachers, university staff and faculty, and local and state government workers all over Arizona. Last week, 40 activists met in Phoenix for a grassroots training on how to fight this misguided effort. Future trainings are being planned in Tucson, Flagstaff and all over Arizona.